Bubblegum and colored pencils aren’t normally associated with the grotesque, but artist Julia Randall uses the child-centric materials in her newest body of work, Blown. “I craft images that are simultaneously erotic and humorous, beautiful and repulsive,” she writes. Randall’s drawing technique is impeccable and incredibly detailed — each image hyperrealistically rendered with delicate layers of color and texture — but the surreality and abjectness equally captured our attention. A few of the drawings feature disembodied lips, tensely pursed and expelling bubbles — similar to her other works of mouths frothy with saliva.
“Bubblegum initially connotes innocent, cheeky pleasure, yet the fragile skin of gum also points to the susceptible human body, and the dreaded passage of time,” Randall muses about Blown. “The bubble is a vessel that holds our breath, for a brief moment, in a physical form. Seen as a group, the inflating/deflating bubble imagery is a visual manifestation of breathing.”
Visit Randall’s bubblegum drawings after the jump, and see them in person at Garvey Simon Art Access starting November 14, the Weatherspoon Art Museum’s Art on Paper biennial on October 21, and a Middlesex County College academic collaborative exhibition opening September 25. By the way, if you’re wondering what brand makes the biggest, sturdiest bubbles, Randall advises that Hubba Bubba and Bubblicious reign supreme.