Isle Royale Reflection
"My days at Isle Royale were filled with reading, sketching, traversing the land and water, looking, collecting, and thinking. All that was pivotal in the clarification and refinement of my key ideas as an artist because it required forced contemplation. The site itself raised the very issues at the core of my work. I have always circled around the notion of polarities—nature/culture; man/woman; intellect/body. When I was at the park, I became involved in the discussion of how to fulfill the park’s mission of remaining as natural as possible. Just what could that natural state be? Did it include wolves? moose? cabins that hosted families for generations? kayaks? fishing and timber interests? copper mining? pleasure seekers? Both the nature and the culture of Isle Royale raise these questions, not offering simple answers. Once this complexity was clear, I realized that these polarities that we structure life and thought around are merely markers which don’t indicate the edges of a discussion, but instead reside like the spots in water where two stones land in proximity. Their edges overlap, distort, impact, and implicate each other. It was this idea that led to the painted and collected art piece that I made for the park.
About the Artist*
Julia Barello was the very first Isle Royale Artist-in-Residence from July 9th to July 24th, 1991. Although her work ranges from the intimate art of fine jewelry to large-scale installations, she considers herself primarily a metalsmith.
Since 1992, Barello has worked as a professor of art at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces and is currently the Academic Department Head.
Last updated: December 13, 2019