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Scorched Earth
Julie & Kristen Gautier-Downes

In 2009, twin sisters, Julie and Kristen Gautier-Downes, lost their childhood home in a sudden, early-season brushfire in Santa Barbara, California. Though Kristen works in painting, and Julie works in installation and photography, their creative interests center around making sense of this intense and emotional event that took away everything we owned.

Separately, each sister has each grappled with topics of impermanence, destruction, fire, home, and the lasting marks humans have made on the landscape in the sisters' respective artistic practices. These digital composites bring together their shared history of environmental disaster by combining their different approaches to processing this major loss.

- Julie Gautier-Downes

Julie and Kristen Gautier-Downes were born in San Diego and relocated to New York City in 2001, prompting their bi-coastal identity. Julie received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2011 and her Master of Fine Arts in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2014. Kristen received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2012. Both Julie and Kristen are AmeriCorps Alumni having each served for two years at nonprofits which deal with community art, disaster relief and affordable housing. Kristen is currently enrolled in a Master of Social Work program at Arizona State University.

In 2015, Julie was an Artist in Residence at the Vermont Studio Center and won Best In Show for her installation in Guess You Had To Be There at the Peoria Gateway Building. In 2016, Julie won Best Still Life in the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts’ 2016 International Photography Competition and was awarded a Grants for Artist Projects (GAP) 2016 Grant from the Artist Trust. Julie and Kristen have exhibited their individual and collaborative works in solo and group shows across the United States and in the United Kingdom. Julie resides in Spokane, Washington and Kristen resides in Tucson, Arizona.

Visit Julie Gautier-Downes' site