Julie Poitras Santos
I am a storyteller working in relationship to materials and spaces. In my practice I employ diverse materials to create installations and site-specific actions that share a relationship with language. As both artist and poet, my research interests include areas where art and language intersect. From the ekphrastic to the sonic, I have investigated how we come to language, how we self-determine through story, and how we craft history. I work in different media and models. On the one hand, the work responds to a peripatetic movement and desire, extending horizontal pathways though action in different communities and locations. On the other hand, I have long made installation works, sometimes inhabited or enacted by an actor, dreamlike narratives that exist temporarily in relationship to spaces. There is a productive tension between these two models: navigating home and away, stasis and movement, meditation and pilgrimage. While the site of my work is variable – a city street, a rural pathway, an old mill, a hotel built to look like a ship – I work in response to the history and structure of each space uniquely. Through research and dialogue, and by looking to divinatory methods, I regard the potential for ritual gesture to create a separate place between known territories, allowing space for new narratives to be created. In lacing together site, memory, and local mythologies the work explores our desire for both belonging and difference through the stories we interpret and the stories we tell.
Poitras Santos' solo and collaborative work has been exhibited domestically and internationally, including exhibitions at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, Michigan; the Centre for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona, Spain; Reykjanesbaer Art Museum in Iceland; and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, Colorado. She has attended residencies and created performances and projects in the United States, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Iceland. In 2012, Poitras Santos curated and created work for a five-person exhibition at the Coleman Burke Gallery in the Fort Andross Mill in Brunswick, Maine, accompanied by a catalogue with curatorial essay and supported in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission. A new project investigating relationships between textile and text is featured in "On Our Radar" on the Creative Capital website. Recent written publications include poetry and reviews in The New Guard, The Café Review and Glint. Julie Poitras Santos holds two MFAs, one in Visual Arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder, 2000, and a second in Poetry from the Stonecoast Creative Writing program, 2013. She received a BS from Tufts University in 1990. Poitras Santos has taught sculpture at Bowdoin College, the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and currently in the MFA program at the Maine College of Art. She lived in Barcelona, Spain from 2004-2007 and worked as the Artistic Director of the Art Residency program Can Serrat, in Montserrat National Park.
Poitras Santos was previously a member of the Artnauts in 2003-2004.