B.C. Binning and Alvin Balkind Galleries
The Contemporary Art Gallery presents a major solo exhibition by Toronto-born, New York-based artist Julia Dault. Through a selection of new and recent works, the exhibition reveals the importance to Dault of balancing spontaneous gesture with responsiveness to rules, logic and the constraints of materials. Physical negotiations are central to Dault’s textured paintings and improvised sculptures; both are exhibited in Blame It On the Rain.
Dault is interested in “embodied knowledge” — how making is thinking — and reinserts the artist’s hand into a minimal aesthetic primarily interpreted as distanced and industrial. The artist’s rule-based painting involves responding to mass-produced elements — patterned silks, pleather, unmixed paint straight from the tube — with unconventional tools, such as squeegees, rubber combs and sea sponges. The limitations of these objects create quasi-standardized gestures that allow Dault to skirt the line between expressive abstraction and cool, machine-like facture. Erasure of her paintings’ topmost layers, which allows viewers to “see into” the painting process, is as important to Dault as paint application.
Exploration of artistic labour recurs in Dault’s sculptures. Always improvising on site and working alone, the artist manipulates and coerces Plexiglas, Formica and other industrially produced materials into imposing curved forms, then affixes them to the gallery wall using straps and cords. Dault’s efforts can be understood as “private performances” in which her physical capabilities are juxtaposed with the properties of the materials she employs. Each sculpture is titled with a time stamp that reflects the duration it took to complete the piece. In this gesture, as with her paintings, she hopes to underline the durational nature of the art-making process.
Dault’s work fuses the emphasis on process found in both Abstract Expressionist painting and post-Minimal sculpture. One unifying element is the artist’s fascination with patterns, and with the slippages and imperfections that reveal the human origins of what appears mechanical. Another is the search for variety within strict limitations. By devising expressive gestures through rules and reasoning indicative of post-Minimal and Conceptual art, Dault is part of a generation of artists acknowledging histories and legacies of art making while revitalizing abstraction today.
The exhibition complements Color Me Badd, presented at The Power Plant, Toronto in 2014-2015.
Julia Dault lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She has held solo exhibitions at Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York (2015); The Power Plant, Toronto and China Art Objects Galleries, Los Angeles (2014); Galerie Bob van Orsouw, Zurich and Jessica Bradley Gallery, Toronto (2013); and White Cube Bermondsey, London (2012). She has also participated in group shows which include: Elevated, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2014-2015), Americana: Selections from the Collection, Pérez Art Museum, Miami (2013–2014); Outside the Lines, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2013–2014); In the Heart of the Country, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; Inner Journeys, Maison Particulière, Brussels (2013); The Ungovernables, New Museum, New York; Roundtable, the Ninth Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2012); and Making Is Thinking, Witte de With, Rotterdam (2011). Her work is in the collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; Pérez Art Museum, Miami; Saatchi Gallery, London; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Dault is represented by Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York; Jessica Bradley Gallery, Toronto; and China Art Objects Galleries, Los Angeles.