Julia Betts

In the piece "2015-2017," belongings accumulated over two years are sorted by color (white, blue, orange, brown, black, red) and frozen in plaster time capsules. As part of the installation, a book situated nearby catalogs the ephemera within each block and describes moments when each object in the block changed colors. For example, a piece of a book with black text fades completely to white from repeated trampling or a clear piece of hot glue accidentally sits on a window sill for months and when found, has yellowed. Permanence is contrasted with transience, transformation, and entropy. Seemingly insignificant moments and “trash” are elevated into vehicles to hold personal interactions, memories, and the residue of a lived experience.


Orange, (1/13)

White aspirin bottle became orange after orange house paint spill;

yellow, ripped foam (4 pieces);
yellow paint bottle covered in something white;
yellow tear of folder;

orange inner lining of sports coat with breathing holes in a grid
formation was ripped from the inside of a coat. At quarter sized
intervals, it is speckled purple and dark blue;
orange top strip ripped from Gourmet Heaven peach bag;
fluorescent orange ticket laid on the dashboard of the my car, but it
was dark and rainy and so I didn't notice it. The ticket had been
softened by the rain, weakening the paper. The windshield wipers
easily cut through the paper, leaving a diagonal indentation. The
windshield wipers exposed a white parking ticket through the bright
fluorescent wrapper. The orange opened up to white;

green image laid on the gray floor below my feet. I reached over the
image to pick up an open gallon of orange house paint. While doing
so, I bumped into one of the microwaves behind me. The white
microwave hit me in the back and I fell down, dropping the bucket.
The liquid splattered on the floor. I grabbed the wall for support,
leaving orange handprints on the wall. The white microwave tumbled
to the ground, landing diagonally in a puddle of orange. The green
image floated within the puddle. A piece of black gel and a used
brown paper towel were also caught in the puddle. The green image,
black gel, and used brown paper towel congealed together with the
orange paint as glue. The white microwave pressed upon them,
squishing them all together. A white extension cord encrusted with
green paint and coffee stains from prior accidents fell into the puddle
at a later time, knotting them all together. The orange paint hardened
over everything in the vicinity of the spill, making everything become

tan shard of plywood about the size of my hand;

…put in plaster.


Orange, (4/13)

Clear melted sheet of hot glue with a bandage on the top corner
held to a piece of styrene painted with red paint was taken
home from studio. While cleaning, I put it outside on my
window ledge to get it out of the way, but then, forgot about it.
It remained outside in the sun, wind, rain, and snow for about 6
months. One day it became warm and I opened a window and
found the object. The red paint had fallen away, returning to the
white styrene
.The clear hot glue had become yellow;

white pillow filling became orange after orange house paint
spill. For some reason, it also later partially turned green;
white pillow filling became orange after orange house paint
spill. From repeated rubbing, the orange paint has begun to
disappear and the filling is turning white, again;
white lid to missing clear container became orange after orange
house paint spill.The orange house paint is beginning to flake
away. The orange paint grips the lid so fragilely. At any
moment, it will fall away and return to white;
white piece of blue lined notebook paper that is stained to
white cup printed with red diagonal lines filled with beige
white piece of book with black text, most of the text has
disappeared from repeated rubbing, words remaining: “splat”,
“cross”, “side”, “place”, “see”, “each side”, “each spaced”,
“then”, “Finally”;
yellow inner filling to a pillow that someone cut in chips with
what appears to be scissors judging from the sharpness of the
yellow, ripped strip of spray foam;
yellow, cracked piece of hardened wood glue;

yellow-orange patch of foam stained brown from dust;
orange house paint dried—becoming a slightly darker orange;
orange top part of mango bag

…put in plaster.


White (18/20)

Clear plastic with triangular fringe collected brown dust;

white torn piece of wall from prior studio with fingertip sized
indentations missing;
white piece of book with black text became completely white
due to repeated rubbing;
white piece of string attached to two dots of hot glue turned
white take out bag with a lilac flower;
white coffee cup was placed at the top of a white fridge. It
perched above my head on the fridge. The liquid inside the cup
turned the bottom of the cup brown and softened the paper
allowing liquid to burst outwards. The liquid moved across the
roof of the fridge and then down the side of the fridge moving
about two inches daily. The walnut texture of the fridge caught,
slowed, and redirected the spill creating branches and veins in
its downward path. More coffee continued to escape the cup,
lengthening the stain and turning it every day to a darker
. Brown and fan shaped, the stain eventually spanned the
entirety of the fridge and met me at the width and height of my
body. Still, more coffee continued to leak,dripping off the fridge
and finally reaching the ground, puddling in several quarter
sized pools at my feet. The cup had fully expelled itself. But,
enough coffee was still left inside the cup for mold to grow. The
mold was first green, but then, black and hard mold soon
replaced the soft, green mold. The black mold dried and
surrounded the edges of the cup in flakes. The flakes fell down
into the cup in black petals. This black mold from this cup is
growing across the block, turning everything black.

Julia Betts was born in 1991 in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and is currently based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2014, Betts graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA and, in 2017, graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with an MFA in Sculpture. At the University of Pittsburgh, Betts was recognized with six awards and two undergraduate research grants. After earning her BA in 2014, Betts exhibited in numerous solo shows at venues including Second Sight Studio (Columbus, Ohio), and Unsmoke Systems (Pittsburgh, PA). In addition, she completed an artist-in-residence programs at Second Sight Studio (OH) and Bunker Projects (PA). In 2015, she began at the Rhode Island School of Design Sculpture department. There, she focused on the performative aspect of her practice through performance centered coursework at both RISD and Brown University. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in spring 2017 leaving with awards including the SLH Young Fellowship. Since graduating, she has participated in group exhibitions in Brooklyn, NY at Microscope Gallery, Reart Space, and Flux Factory. In 2018, she will be awarded the Peripheral Vision Publication Fellowship, an independent press devoted to critical dialogues about American contemporary art. Follow her @julia_betts.