Skip to Content
Closed now, next open tomorrow. Closed now, next open tomorrow.


Black background with berry-colored blotches of paint applied all over.

Image actions

  • Black background with berry-colored blotches of paint applied all over.




Julia Fish
American, born 1950

About this artwork

Julia Fish’s methodical, meditative paintings are distillations of personal experiences, memories, and, above all, the artist’s immediate surroundings. Meticulously made and attentive to observed reality, her works nevertheless balance representation and abstraction, seeking an oscillation or equilibrium between the two. For the past two decades, Fish has worked in reference to the given materials, surfaces, and construction of her Chicago home and study—a former storefront dating to 1922—but another approach to “found” subjects took priority in the late 1980s. As the artist wrote in a statement in 1990, “With each painting I attempt to reconcile a singular response to an aspect of Nature… . Living within an urban setting, my work has grown to reflect the isolated framing of the natural world; and I find through developing each painting a parallel process of selection and reduction.”

In Bloom, an intimate and intense early work, Fish describes what might be read as vegetation in magenta, lavender, and deep green passages of paint that appear at once to hover above and recede into the pictorial plane. There is no evident light source, yet the painting as a whole seems to glow, as if backlit. More than a particular kind of bloom, this work captures the experience of seeing—or of straining to see—garden forms in twilight. Fish constructed a sense of fading, fluctuation, and ultimate visual instability through repeated horizontal and vertical brush marks. Progressive layers of point generated a lush, tactile surface that seems to behave organically rather than predictably.


Currently Off View


Julia Fish




Chicago (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil and wax on canvas


76.2 × 68.5 cm (30 × 27 in.)

Credit Line

Anonymous gift

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions