Julie Liger-Belair lives in Toronto, where she attended the Ontario College of Art and Design (now OCAD University). For the past 20 years, she has participated in group and solo shows in Canada, the United States and Europe. When not doing her artwork she likes to go camping with her partner, their three creative kids, and little black dog, Frida.
Fairy tales, legends, dreams and the surreal worlds they evoke have always been a part of the human experience, a way to make sense of our surroundings and explain our fears. As a child these captured my imagination and wove themselves into the fabric of my personality. Because of this, I am today a collector at heart, constantly collecting fragments of ideas and objects, each with their own little stories to tell. Combining them in different ways in my work, they form new narratives and meanings.
I create mixed-media works using acrylic paint, wood, metal, Japanese paper, and found photographs. I use Victorian era photographs I’ve collected over the years, finding that these evoke imagined histories and feelings of nostalgia. Their serious and stern faces provide an ironic counterpoint to the humour and levity I try to inject into the work. Alternatively, my pieces make evident a playful fascination with all forms of iconography, creating alter-pieces for everyday life, making sacred of the mundane.
In my latest work I’ve been attempting to combine these vernaculars – the ironic and the sacred – to tell a story about the disconnect between our private and public selves. That is, who we are is often at odds with what we project to others. What do we choose to reveal, conceal or fabricate? More importantly, I explore the toll exacted by this ‘duplicity:’ specifically the feelings of sorrow, resentment, anxiety, and martyrdom it engenders.