JULIA MARTIN, MFA '15, OVERSHARE, Solo Exhibition at PDA Projects

PDA Projects, Collector's Space
704 Somerset St., Ottawa ON
May 12 - May 30, 2017
Opening May 12


Oversharing saves lives:
I inherited a hoarder tendency. I’ve redirected this impulse from objects to digital photographs and text messages. Instead amassing the fleeting and intangible—it really keeps the clutter down.

I meticulously document atmosphere and conversations like my mother collects Windstone Fantasy Figurines. She’s all dragons, wizards and winged cats and I’m the light at certain times of day shimmering on the dust in Bunny’s fur.

My phone has become my studio. In an attempt to hold on to time, slippery and amorphous, I rely on this ever-present and ubiquitous archive. I have an unhealthy attachment to my phone, for months I had recurring dreams of cracking its glass. My phone had taken the place of teeth in subconscious fears of bodily decline.

I do what everyone with a camera phone does, I take pictures with a regularity unmatched by any generation before. Mundane, weird, meaningless, pornographic, ridiculous, significant, pretty pictures.

Plants and cats, clouds and sunsets, friends and not friends anymore, never friends again.
And in their vast number, and scope, they begin to form a portrait, an outline of a life.
A trace of time.

It was in following them backward that I saw something I hadn’t seen while living these moments.
I’ve been sick.
I’ve been sick for a while.
I took photos of my illness, harmless nights and days in bed with Netflix. Piles of tissues, captions complaining about “kitten hands” (this is not when your hands are full of kittens, that would be adorable, rather it’s when you find yourself overturning a hot mug of cider over yourself because you could not hold its weight). I saw my mother in her nursing home bed, her skin grey, saline being dropped in her eyes, juice through a straw. It’s not the same thing. We aren’t the same, but somehow there was me. My fingers blistered and raw, my tongue swollen, mounds of my hair pulled from the drain.

I don’t dream anymore of the glass cracking.
I dream of my hair on the floor.

I made these moments physical objects, made them multiples, I gave myself something solid and never-ending to hold on to as I slowly dissolve.

Fuck those dragons. They don’t do shit.


I think I’m developing carpal tunnel from holding my phone.
My phone is running out of memory and I drop it constantly.
Why do we always hurt the ones we love?

I’m not glib, I’m irreverent, and I would appreciate it if you note the difference.
It’s not that I don’t take my work seriously, it’s that I can’t take myself seriously. The doctors say I’m supposed to avoid stress, and so I guess I’m taking the Patch Adams approach to my own life. Laugh until it stops hurting.

When I did my MFA I missed only two classes. In contrast, I was chronically absent during undergrad, high school, and elementary school.
I am known more for my absence than presence.
I believe this is thematic of my practice.

I have shown in Toronto, Ottawa, and Guelph. I completed a month-long artist residency in Finland in November 2015 which explains all the dark photos of birch trees. I’ve made books that sold out and are now out of print and will stay that way. I’m working on others. I am included in the Karsh Masson exhibition of emerging photographers coming in September 2017.