Julie Gautier-Downes was born in San Diego and relocated to New York City in 2001, prompting her bi-coastal identity and interest in perceptions of home. In 2010, Gautier-Downes studied painting and photography abroad at the Institut d'études Supérieures des Arts in Paris, France. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2011. Gautier-Downes received her Master of Fine Arts in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2014. Gautier-Downes has taught photography and given guest lectures at Belvoir Terrace, Cabrillo College, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Spokane Falls Community College.
In 2015, Gautier-Downes 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, she 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. She has exhibited her work in solo and group shows across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Hungary. From 2016 to 2017, she was an Artist in Residence at Hatch: Creative Enterprises. In 2017, she was an Artist in Residence at the Richmond Art Collective, AIR Studio Paducah, and the Vermont Studio Center. Gautier-Downes has had her work published in a variety of international publications including: Ain’t Bad Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic, Dazed Digital, the Hand Magazine, the Missoula Independent, Ohio Edit, the Pacific Northwest Inlander, Phosmag, the Spokesman-Review, and Yes Ma’am.
Gautier-Downes’ studio practice is the investigation of somatic traces left in disused domestic spaces that become artifacts of the past. The domestic vestiges that haunt these spaces are transformed into a narrative waiting to be deciphered. Her process involves documenting or recreating deserted houses and abandoned items that allude to the home and family. The spaces she records seem to be in a perpetual state of disarray, imbuing the notion that a single event stimulated the need for the inhabitants to leave hastily. Gautier-Downes re-frames each scene into her rendition of the stories each space unveils. The accounts she relays reveal the trauma each housing structure suffers as it slowly decomposes into the environment as well as the physicality of displacement.