In The Timber Julia Oldham explores her fascination with bug culture through a combination of performance and video art. Oldham’s creations utilize her body’s physical presence to examine the conflict between unity and disharmony all human beings struggle with in relation to nature. Shooting her videos outdoors in the wilderness, she takes on the role of the insect, using her appendages to replicate the movements and respond to the sounds these creatures make during climactic life moments. Oldham’s art re-contextualizes the human relationship with nature, drawing attention to our competing responses of curiosity and repulsion when confronted with the insect world and relating them to our struggles between empathy for and alienation from nature.
The Timber is part of Art in General’s New Commissions Program, which is made possible by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; The National Endowment for the Arts; the Jerome Foundation; and Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro.
Julia Oldham was raised by a physicist and an avid gardener, and spent most of her youth exploring the surrounding woods and creeks with her mother and doing science experiments with her father. Oldham finds the potential for romance everywhere. She weaves love stories out of the complexities of physics and math, the mating dances of insects, and chance encounters with wild animals in the forest. Casting herself in the role of lover, wanderer and scientist, she creates a mythology of the heart with her videos, drawings and songs. Oldham’s work has been screened/exhibited at Art in General in New York, NY; MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, NY; The Drawing Center in New York, NY; The Bronx Museum of Art in the Bronx, NY; The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, IL; the Dia Foundation in New York, NY; and the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC.