Due to pandemic in order to protect our health the gallery operates currently virtual. We are happy to welcome our guests in our next art show as soon as it secure
in conversation with Judith Mullen
Self portrait I, oil, wax, charcoal on board, 50,8 x 40,64cm, 2017
Resilience I, plaster, yarn, glass beads, acrylic, 213,36x243,84x12,7cm, 2020
Shield I, plaster, yarn, resin, enamel, 121,92x60,96x2,54cm, 2020
My engagement with specific materials has a long family lineage beginning with my great grandfather, Julius Schubert, who emigrated from Denmark in 1870. Schubert was one of a few fresco painters who helped to rebuild Chicago and vicinity after the Chicago fire. A recent trip to the earliest frescoes found in the ancient cave paintings at Grotte de Niaux, France, showed records of daily rituals and interaction with the natural world and internal well-being. The makers of these early frescoes also employed walking, ritual and repetition to speak of their connection to nature. My recent modular figurative sculptures and mixed media objects employ some of this the ancient fresco technique bringing historically grounded materials into contemporary sculptural and painting discourse. It is through a continual process of constructing, deconstructing and reconstructing that I reach outside of the familiar and invite the viewer to engage in the shared nuances of the human condition.
Self portrait II, oil, charcoal, wax on board, 45,72 x60,96cm, 2018
JUDITH MULLEN is US American artist, living and working in Chicago. She studied painting and drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago II and obtained there her BFA and MFA. During her artistic career she exhibited in numerous solo, group exhibitions, and curatorial projects. Her studio practice over the last several years evolved from traditional painting to a more sculptural practice using a handmade plaster and yarn based material that she developed as seen in Resilience I and Mask IV, and Shield I. Judith explains that she usually does not produce pre-sketches or drawings for artworks. They are rather results of her artistic practice processes in handling directly with materials, which she uses for creations.
The current exhibition, which takes place in virtual space, refers to Judith's artistic processes during her walks in the landscape, especially the wood, where she explores the structures of nature and their impact on our senses and cognitive perception.
Judith points out that in walking, interpretation frequently lags behind actual temporal experience. When walking we transgress and re-establish new boundaries by continually redefining a new frame for our field of experience. Walking itself does not make art in the traditional sense excerpt for perhaps a trail as in seen in Richard Long's A Line Made by Walking. The physical act of putting one foot in front of the other is repetitive and tied to rhythms of organic processes. Wandering, the deliberate moving off a set course is about non-conforming and remaining open to a new way of facing everyday challenges. With this type of ambulation, the role of gesture and habit are the foreground and suggest opportunities for ritual as material and conceptual connection with nature. It is and invitation to linger, to slowly immerse yourself in an environment like a cave or a forest that allows for transformation.
Judith's performative approach to the regulation of her artistic practice in a dialog of her body with the processes of natural surroundings results in a daily ritual.
Mask IV, plaster, yarn, glass beards, 45,72x30,48x17,78cm, 2020
Walking or wandering in a forested area is a daily part of my studio practice. Here the tree-forms act as metaphor, respite, teacher and model for my overall art practice where I combine many mediums and textures. While walking I meditate on the ever present awareness of the impact on the human body and mind as a result of cultural pressures, communication overload and isolation. I am curious about the psychic and intellectual effects experienced in this ritual of walking in the forest and how these manifests in processing concerns related to a range of emotions such as joy, loneliness, uncertainty and fear. The resilience of the tree and its adaptability to changes in the landscape is a model I use to express our shared human desire for strength and courage. Reflecting on a quote from Janet Laurence from her work found in After Nature, Laurence states, "Trees for me are the great signals of change. They become a register of what's happening through climate change, pollution and poisoned waters." In my sculptures the tree is represented by references to bark using skin like materials such as resin, handmade tree bark, chicken wire, cheesecloth and Ace bandages. The bark of the tree is made up of living cells and acts as a skin which shields the tree from disease, animals and insects much like our own human skin. Following in the footsteps of Ana Mendieta I gather found, up-cycled and recycled materials which can be woven and cast into figurative wall and free-standing sculptures and nest like assemblages. My mode of combining materials mimics the ritual and repetition of walking in the forest. Interweaving or layering of materials speaks to a balance between strength and fragility.
Resilience I, plaster, yarn, glass beads, acrylic, 213,36x234,84x12,7cm, 2020
Head I, backside, chicken wire, ace bandages, plaster, yarn, resin, pigment, 60,96x40,64x40,64 cm, 2020
Mask I with stick, side view, plaster, yarn, found stick, 152,4x60,96x91,44cm, 2020
Mask II, plaster, yarn, pigment, acrylic, 60,96x45,72x25,4cm, 2020
Mask III, plaster, yarn, pigment, acrylic, 60,96x45,72x22,86cm, 2020
Mask IV, plaster, yarn, glass beads, 45,72x30,48x17,78cm, 2020
Mask V, plaster, yarn, acrylic, 30,48x22,86x7,62cm, 2020
Mask VI, plaster, yarn, acrylic, pigment, 20,32x30,48x7,62cm, 2020
Mask VII, plaster, yarn, 60,96x45,72x12,07cm, 2020
Mask VIII, plaster, yarn, pigment, acrylic, 60,96x45,72x12,7cm, 2020
Mask X, plaster, yarn, glass beards, pigment, acrylic, 60,96x45,72x12,7cm, 2020
Resilience II, plaster, yarn, cheesecloth, 213,36x121,92x12,7cm
Shield I, plaster, yarn, enamel, 121,92x60,96x2,54cm, 2020
Shield II, plaster, yarn, resin, pigment, cheesecloth, sawdust, 91,5x61x6cm, 2020
Shield III, plaster, yarn, resin, ace bandages, glass beads, 60,96x 121,92x5,08cm, 2020
Shield V, plaster, yarn, pigment, 91,44x121,92x10,16cm, 2020
Shield VI, plaster, yarn, pigment, 91,44x121,96x10,16cm, 2020
Figure 1, front view, plaster, yarn, resin, ace bandages, chicken wire, 137,16x91,44x60,96cm, 2020
Figure 2, backside, plaster, yarn, resin, ace bandages, pigment, chicken wire, 137,16x91,44x60,96cm, 2020
Tondo 1, fresco, resin on styrofoam, 30,48x30,48cm, 2019
Artwork in Focus
plaster, yarn, acrylic, pigment, 20,32x30,48x7.62cm, 2020
This mask becomes tangled. This rust-red work evokes an impression of the symbol of infinity, and therefore its shape is reminiscent of the constant natural course of things. And yet it is not freely exposed to the forces of impermanence. The surface is structured like a crust, a protective crust, a protection against the influences of transience.
plaster, yarn, pigment, acrylic
60,96 x 45,72 x 25,4cm, 2020
It's a form that writhes in itself. The green pigment refers to the natural polles that float in the air. And yet it has found its constancy in a form.
The artwork is part of a series that Judith titled Masks. As the artist explains, the title refers to the journeys, which she undertakes between the urban space of the city and the forest.
The mask is protection, it protects our emotions and makes us appear strong.