Julie Gray

This series was made possible by a grant from the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation
January 8, 2021 - January 22, 2021

Julie K. Gray is a Maine-based interdisciplinary artist who primarily works in photography, sculpture and needlepoint. She earned her BFA in Photography from Rhode Island School of Design in 2005 and has since earned her MFA in Studio Art from Maine College of Art (2012). She has exhibited widely in New England as well as NYC, IL, TX, NJ, FL and Canada. She is also currently a student of mediumship, working with mentors based in Lily Dale, NY. 

“Ten years ago, I had a near-death experience after falling down some stairs and receiving a severe concussion. I could hear my parents and brother describe what was happening to me in frantic screams, their voices became fainter and fainter as I seemingly traveled down a dark tunnel. There was no light at the end of this tunnel, though, and when I eventually came to after minutes without breath, this vast emptiness I experienced shook me to the core. It took me a few years to be able to process and speak about this experience openly, then it took a few more years to be able to address it within my art.

I visited Lily Dale, NY (the largest Spiritualist community in the country) five years ago and have never been the same, continuing to visit each year during the summer seasons when they open their gates to tourists and those who wish to receive messages from their dead loved ones. I’ve always been sensitive to seeing/hearing spirits growing up, but have always explained these experiences away-maybe there was a carbon monoxide leak in that Providence apartment? And maybe when I was a child I just had an overactive imagination? However, after spending time in Lily Dale, I no longer explain these experiences away, but embrace them. And honestly, after my near-death experience, I need to believe that there’s something more after we die.

My artwork addresses mortality, mourning culture and the psychological space of “limbo,” thematically. In order to speak about the intangible subject of mortality through my work, I have come to use more symbolic means of addressing the subject. Humor and kitsch in my photography, as well as the use of naïve, childhood craft materials help such weighty subject matter become accessible to the audience.

In these past years, I have taken photographs (both digital and medium format film) around the grounds of Lily Dale (my visits only lasting a few days here and there), and it’s been a great source of inspiration in general. This year, I booked a two-week trip to visit during the off-season in October/November with the support of the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation. This body of work is the result of these two weeks spent on the grounds.”

Related Posts

Hunter Macleod

June 4, 2022 - August 5, 2022
Reception: June 9, 2022 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Hunter Macleod is a Maine-based photographer.

Joris Graaf

Joris Graaf
May 9, 2022 - June 3, 2022
Reception: May 12, 2022 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

In his abstract digital photo-art, self-taught visual artist Joris Graaf (The Hague, 1980) seeks to create tension by forming a synthesis of opposites: melody and noise, rhythm…

Durkish Delights

November 9, 2020 - November 20, 2020

Durkish Delights is Mike Durkee: a muralist and graphic artist from New Hampshire. He currently resides in Alton, NH with his wife and children. He also has two…

Joseph Podlesnik

November 23, 2020 - December 4, 2020

Joseph Podlesnik is trained mainly in drawing and painting and it is this experience which seems to influence his approach to photography.  For Podlesnik, the camera lens…

Daniel Fleming

December 5, 2020 - December 18, 2020

“Our sense of self, and our understanding of ourselves, has never been more important than in the present day. Not only are we rushing to keep up…

Jake Romano

December 19, 2020 - January 7, 2021

Jake Romano has been painting digitally since 2012. He has had no formal training in illustration but in his time spent studying graphic design in community college,…