Tanya Leighton and Bureau, New York present a gallery swap this September and the debut solo shows by Julia Rommel in Berlin and Jonas Lipps in New York, respectively.
Twin Bed, Rommel’s first solo exhibition in Germany, comprises seven new works on canvas. Jonas Lipps’ exhibition of new works on paper opens at Bureau on 13 September.
I tried to be more decisive when planning and starting these paintings, but they quickly strayed away from any plan, and ended up needing so much trial and error, so many returns to chance methods, so many layers, so many color insights from the outside world, for anything of real interest to come through. In short, a lot of chaos entered in before I could find the important parts and see the way to the slightly simplified end. I had an original goal of presenting a newness by way of elements being quick and thin and light — but that did not work out. The paint became thick, and I had to find a way to create life within this thickness. The paintings brought forth their own, new pace, even if the easy, early marks were long-gone.
This year, I have been determined to make conscious changes towards what I think I want in my personal life, and that also has not worked out — I have learned that I cannot force these things. In retrospect I should have known that I was trying to control too much. Mostly I’ve been swamped by just keeping up with each day, trying to get my work done, and absorbing the sadness coming in from the external world. However, moments of openness have also floated to the surface, surprising me. The painting titles are pulled mostly from the good experiences within these moments. And the colours too, I think, come from these experiences. Stubbornly, they all became bright paintings, despite my original plans to make them otherwise. The truth is, I’ve had a lot of fun this year. The fun, and happiness, has sneakily persisted despite my failures, and despite the news and analysis that constantly fills my ears while I’m working.
I’ve long been taking this lesson to my paintings: that good, lucky things happen because of (or despite) all the labor that sometimes feels so redundant, pointless, difficult. This is how it continues to play out for me. I wonder if I will ever have an idea or plan that I carry through to its foreseen conclusion. For now, that is not the way things work. What works, continuously, is the act of working itself, and locating the moments of unexpected luck within.
Julia Rommel, August 2018
Julia Rommel (b. 1980 Salisbury, MD, USA) lives and works in New York. She received her MFA from American University in Washington D.C. Her first solo museum show, Two Italians, Six Lifeguards, was hosted by the Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, CT in 2015. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include: Stay-at-Home Dad with Mathew Cerletty, Standard (Oslo); Man Alive, Bureau, New York; and A Cheesecake With Your Name On It, Overduin & Co., Los Angeles, 2016. Recent group exhibitions include Painting/Objects, The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, 2018; Zombie Formalism, ca. 1970/2016, Mitchell Algus Gallery, New York, 2016; Space Between, The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, 2015. Her work is held in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)