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Julia Mary Grey

BA(Hons)FineArt, University of Cape Town


I am a South African collage and assemblage artist using paint and found material to dismantle, play with and reimagine my own grasp of socio-political challenges and psychological-spiritual growth.  It involves the gathering and archiving of found imagery, boxes of random paper cut outs and layers of messy painting in acrylic, gouache and spray paint. 

My style of collage developed in the pages of visual journals I kept as a teenager and evolved during my years at art school, whilst working on large scale collage walls. What I do is predominantly process-based and involves the unpredictable flow of ink or paint that I first discovered in those journals.

The collaged world or wall, much like the visual journal page, functions as a fantastical and idealised container for Self: a new world to inhabit that acts as an antidote to life’s greyness or sadness. I aim to make visible what has thus far been personally unexpressed, leaving pieces of art like breadcrumbs for whoever notices (my future self included). 

The idea of a visionary visual mission and always sourced back to the psycho-spiritual is where I feel most at home. Despite having formal art training, my goal is not to fit within contemporary theoretical parameters, but to produce work that God (by my own definition) and I might be proud of.

I am constantly looking to create light worlds / a depiction of a potential heaven / a space that counteracts darkness (both social and psychological) / a place to go where the colours are more fluid. 

Being South African and the psychology around whiteness and privilege has played an enormous role in my creative work. I have lost myself and found myself, again and again, during the development of a healthy ego in relation to subject position. My life's work is an investigation of Self and Individuation with my art being the visual representation thereof. I believe in idiosyncratic expression and candid openness.

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