Marianne Boesky Gallery presents More Than Words, Julia Dault’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition features a new series of sculptures as well as new paintings that, together, capture Dault’s iterative play with color, form, texture, and materials, as well as her ongoing exploration of the creative potential of industrial products.
The new works underscore the value of engaging with the intricate, often beautiful, and little-considered systems that lie just beyond any given surface. This idea is also encapsulated in the exhibition title, which references Extreme’s 1991 hit song of the same name and continues Dault’s use of pop culture references in her work.
Dault is driven by the boundless creative and formal possibilities within the confines of self-imposed rules, which are often determined by the materials and tools with which she is working. This sense of discovery in the seemingly constrained led to Dault’s newest sculptures: abstract compositions inspired by the intricate fretworks of brightly colored PEX tubing that comprise the plumbing systems in our homes and workspaces. This new engagement broadens Dault’s explorations of the tools and materials of other trades exemplified by earlier sculptures made with off-the-shelf Formica and Plexiglas.
Dault experimented with the polyethylene PEX tubing in her studio, examining what geometric forms emerged as she bent and shaped the material. She then fabricated the sculptures in vividly colored, hand-rolled aluminum, creating patterns that resemble imagined engineering plans and maps of urban spaces. Hung on the wall, the new works reveal the aesthetic potential of these little-considered industrial materials. At the same time, the minimalist forms hearken back to the 1970s-era works of Anthony Caro and Frank Stella, continuing her engagement with the art of the postwar to the postmodern period.
The exhibition also features more than a dozen new paintings that expand on Dault’s interest in layering, patterning, and the interdependence of color and form. As Dault applies and removes coatings of paint with brushes, sponges, combs, and other unconventional tools, new details and optical illusions arise. For example, Total Recall (2017) features a patterned velour atop Dault’s composition of blue and yellow forms; as the viewer moves around it, like a lenticular print, the fabric changes color and appears to rise from the surface. Dault creates similarly unexpected experiences through her use of woven and perforated vinyls and meshes.
Dault’s experimentations with surface, tactility, geometry, color, and expressive juxtapositions infuse her paintings with vibrant energy that compel the viewer to look closely and discover unexpected moments of visual complexity. As the systems that underpin modern life become more complex, and, by extension, more opaque, Dault’s artworks provide an invitation to engage actively with our everyday surroundings. Quoting philosopher William James, Dault infers: “My experience is what I agree to attend to. Only those items which I notice shape my mind.”
Toronto-based artist Julia Dault (b. 1977) has been the subject of solo exhibitions at 3:e Våningen, Gothenburg, Sweden; the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada; and The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto, Canada. Her paintings and sculptures were featured in the New Museum’s triennial and the Marrakesh and Gwangju Biennales as well as group exhibitions at such institutions as Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, Netherlands; the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland; the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX; and the Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL, and are in the permanent collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, IL; and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada, among others. Dault’s work will be included in Hinge Picture, Memory Images at the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, New Orleans, LA in spring 2019.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)