Julia Crane is an environmental artist and aesthetic activist. She was born and raised in the Napa Valley; meadows and forests were her natural preserve. As a girl, her innate love of nature first found artistic expression through painted landscapes, and small sculpted objects made from mud and wire. But with age, life experience, and an academic interest in environmental ecosystems, her perspective shifted to a fascination with the chaos and chiaroscuro inherent in the natural world. At the same time, her art became multidisciplinary, encompassing sculpture and photography as well as paint.
She began to see beauty—and even order—in the seemingly random and patternless expressions of the natural world. Living for the past decade on a property closely impacted by recent wildfires, she at first observed beauty in destruction, and then amazement at the tenacity of life returning to the blackened canvas. Just as ecologists came to realize the health of a tree is dependent on the decay in the undergrowth, so Crane aspires in her work to show us what is most vibrant in the interstices between what is most effortlessly beautiful. She believes it is there we can find irony, whimsy, mystery—perhaps even revelation.