Author Betty Ann Brown sees Julian as “a modern American master of ‘haboku’ (flung ink style). Usually associated with Zen Buddhism, haboku was practiced by monks who, after years of arduous training, sat in meditative repose until they sensed a oneness with the universal life force. The monks then moved from meditation to art allowing the force to flow through them, through the brush and onto the paper in rapid dexterous strokes."
Critic Robert McDonald, past senior curator of the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, says, “(Julian) has developed a reductive style," and adds, "Critics have often identified a Zen quality in her work...a gentle merging of natures, a unification of humanity and all living things, of yin and yang, the discipline and spirit of Taoist painting." McDonald also wrote, "The works of Joanne Julian remind us that drawing is a physical enterprise. With the sureness of an athlete or a dancer, she has always tamed energy with grace. A sense of energy in motion, irrespective of imagery, dominates her works. They are both refined and vigorous, dramatic and beguiling, complex and reductive." He concludes that her works are truly exceptional, saying, "They are visual, yet they also have qualities associated with music and dance. They express graphically the energy that informs all phenomena."
Julian has mounted 20 solo exhibitions and over 60 group exhibitions nationally. She works often on a commission basis on site-specific pieces for international corporations. Critical reviews, essays and reproductions of her works have been published in The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Artweek, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Images and Issues, Arts, Press Telegram, Art Scene, Art in America, Forum 2001, and Perspectives among others.