Bio: Julia Betts was born in 1991 in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and is currently based in Pittsburgh, PA. In April 2014, Betts graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA and, this fall, will begin at the Rhode Island School of Design MFA Sculpture program. At the University of Pittsburgh, Betts was recognized with six awards noting potential, leadership, and excellence within and outside of the Studio Arts Department. She also received two undergraduate research grants to pursue her artistic research independently over the summer. Since earning her BA in 2014, Betts has exhibited in numerous solo shows at venues including Second Sight Studio (Columbus, Ohio), Unsmoke Systems (Pittsburgh), and Bunker Projects (Pittsburgh). In addition, she participated in group exhibitions including "Identity Material" in Pittsburgh, "8 Hour Projects: Loss" in Meadville, PA, and "Construct" at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and completed an artist-in-residence programs at Second Sight Studio and Bunker Projects.
Statement: The body serves as a fragile connection and a weak boundary. I follow this idea across different disciplines— choosing the most effective medium to fit the concept. I approach concept through process and material. I put objects metaphorically tied to my body through ritualistic processing to traverse, release, and accumulate the boundaries of the body. In my work, I oscillate between image and object. Photographing of an object creates a trace of the object and disembodies it. Through my processing, I play with the boundaries of the body, embodiment and disembodiment, corporality and transcendence. For example, in Detritus, through grinding images of myself with a household grater, shredded self-images of the body accumulate into layers of dust—with the colors incidental to the photographs used as source material. In the series, I investigate the daily loss and growth of the body. In Debris, as part of the Detritus series, I layered images of my body, rolled them, and cut them with a saw creating stone-line debris. In a related series, Sticky Pixels, I also pull the body between digital and physical. In my process, my clothing is as surrogate for my body and tape references my skin. As I peel tape from the roll, microscopic residue of my skin collects upon each square. The squares are quickly adhered back to the “body” repetitively and continuously. Skin is displaced and then replaced on the body. In the final translation, my labor is deconstructed and transformed through photography. The flattening effect of photography coverts the tape squares, seemingly, into pixels. Through all of my actions, the body is pulled between dematerialization and materialization, absence and presence, and real or digital space.