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Visceral and Exuberant: Art by Julianna Barabas

A photo of Juliana Barabas being tattooed as part of a performanceSeam 1 (performance at Hastings Art Gallery, photographed by Rebecca Applegarth)

Julianna Barabas is a Calgary-based performance artist, speaker, and educator who often uses her own body as a medium and as a point of contact between artistic concepts and physical spaces. Julianna’s works are equal parts visceral and exuberant.

A photo of a performance consisting of the artist washing a participant's handsAntidote


In one piece, called seamline, the performance consists of Julianna having a single line tattooed over the perimeter of her body, in several performance/tattoo sessions. It’s interesting to see a performance where the artist gives up so much personal control, and puts their trust in the hands of another artist. The resulting space and atmosphere represents both a collaboration and a deliberate exchange of power -- seen in still images on Julianna’s portfolio website, the process seems to have the painful, transcendent, and cathartic qualities reminiscent of early works by Marina Abramovich and others.

The front page of Juliana Barabas' art portfolio pageThe front page of Julianna's art portfolio website


Julianna’s other performances, such as Real Time, invite a sense of intimacy between performer and audience, using physical touch and very small groups to blur the line between artist and viewer.

Juliana Barabas speaking as part of her performance piece Gorilla JaneGorilla Jane

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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