Jack Hanley Gallery presents ‘Woman on Top’, Emily Mullin’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. Woman on Top features a new series of wall-mounted reliefs of ceramic vessels and flowers on hand-painted steel shelves.
Mullin’s three-dimensional still lifes explore the potential of the frame, the tradition of still life painting and forms of representation. The bent displays on which the vessels and floral arrangements are placed replicate the form of the cyclorama – the photographic space that dissolves the line between floor and wall. By extending the shelf’s patterns onto the actual space of the gallery’s walls, Mullin spins a web of meta presentations between the flat image, object, and real space.
Mullin’s visual and historical influences can be found in a variety of genres including ancient Cycladic vessels, Gunta Stozl’s heavily patterned weavings, the pleasure palaces of Rajasthan, Jerome Robbins choreography, the frivolous decorative style of Josef Hoffmann and the Wiener Werkstätte, design motifs from the Eighties, and fashion photography.
Alluding to the human body, each vessel is uniquely shaped, some placed individually, some as pairs or in small groups. Each vessel in the front room is patterned with a wax resist before it is dipped in white glaze, and the raw clay body beneath reveals itself after firing. The colors range from a creamy white to a deep burnt umber brown. The ceramics in the back space of the gallery are fired in the traditional Japanese process of Raku in which the pieces are removed from the kiln while they’re still glowing hot, and placed in containers of combustable materials to achieve painterly glaze effects and crazing. The sprouting nature of the flowers and foliage placed inside of the vessels emphasizes that the work is both haptic and optic— they are activated when they are adorned. Proud, almost theatrical, they carry themselves in a grand manner, eager to take on the stage.
Emily Mullin (b. 1984 in Santa Monica, CA) lives and works in Brooklyn. She studied at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA and at Goldsmiths, University of London in London, UK. Recent solo exhibitions include shows at Lucien Terras, New York, Tennis Elbow, Brooklyn, and Sunday Takeout in Brooklyn. She has been included in group exhibitions at Jack Hanley Gallery, New York, Mrs. Gallery, Queens, Kate Werble Gallery and Casey Kaplan Gallery in New York.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)