Julia Rommel The Little Match Stick February 16 - March 16 2014

Press:

Art in America The Brooklyn Rail New York Times Artforum

The big paintings are hard to control. They always start out too proud and monumental, they want to have a personality but not my personality, and I fight them until we find a compromise. Of course I don’t want these things to have my personality either. I’ve found myself taking elaborate steps to keep my own signature away. Every time I need a mark, I have to build the tool for making that mark: mostly stretcher bars to create a relief, sometimes a pillow of paper towels or just the painting folded back and stapled to itself. I rarely find that my own brushy gesture belongs on a painting. A mark made using the stretcher bars has a natural sense of belonging- at one time the whole painting was contained within its edges. So in layers it flatly and bluntly reveals time and a history of decisions.

Meanwhile, with more slowness to each mark, and more distance between hand and brain, I am a better editor, more apt to cover or chop a thing up, destroy it completely, blame the tool and not myself. It helps, having no attachments until the end. But I still remain perplexed at my constant refusal of my own hand’s gesture, why I find it so excessive- yes it is personal, but the personal is what I am at such pains to bring out of these things, layer after layer. I think about Johns and Ryman and how they get away with making marks that are so signature yet so... at home on the linen. Who was it who answered that Johns was laughing when he made his marks, and that is why I accept them? While I am thinking and frowning when I put a brush in my hand. It was a good answer, but I want more, please bring them. Though I will accept them slowly, and only academically. For I have secretly become very attached to my layers and labor and tool-building. -JR, January 2014

 

Julia Rommel was born in 1980 in Salisbury MD. She received her MFA from American University in Washington D.C. Selected exhibitions include The Retired Architect, Wallspace Gallery, NY; Infra-Mince, Figge von Rosen Gallery, Berlin; Correspondences: Ad Reinhardt at 100, Temp Art Space, NY; Mother Superior, Gaudel de Stampa, Paris; The New Sincerity, Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin; Freak Out, Greene Naftali, NY; Good Luck and Safe Journey, T293, Naples; The Little Match Stick is her second solo show at Bureau.

View of front lobby gallery at Bureau - at left a large orange monochrome painting hangs on the brick wall, at right, a small white painting with grey stripes at the bottoms hangs on the wall.

left: Punkin Chunkin, 2014, Oil on linen, 66 × 54 in.; right: Sandpipers, 2013, Oil on linen, 16 1/4 × 11 1/2 in.

View of gallery, at left a white painting with black and pink lines around the edges, at center, a lilac colored monochrome and at right a small blue-black monochrome painting.

from left: Three Little Babes, 2014, Oil on linen, 59 3/4 × 68 1/2 in., Eraserhead, 2014, Oil on linen, 64 1/2 × 59 1/2 in., Cal Ripken Jr. (Rookie Card), 2014 Oil on linen, 20 1/4 × 18 in.

Julia Rommel painting with a rectangular off-white center with rough pink and black lines on the sides.

Three Little Babes, 2014, Oil on linen, 59 3/4 × 68 1/2 in.

View of gallery, a lilac colored monochrome and at right a small blue-black monochrome painting next to a larger blue/black monochrome painting with light blue outlines.

from left; Cal Ripken Jr. (Rookie Card), 2014, Oil on linen, 20 1/4 × 18 in., Cal Ripken Jr. (Kidnapping), 2014, Oil on linen, 81 3/4 × 60 3/4 in.

View of gallery, a large blue-black monochrome painting with blue stripes around the edge and pink in the corners, to the right a white/grey monochrome painting with black and grey edges.

from left: Cal Ripken Jr. (Kidnapping), 2014, Oil on linen, 81 3/4 × 60 3/4 in., Around Woman, 2013, Oil on linen, 77 3/4 × 61 in.

Large off-white rectangular painting with grey and black edges.

Around Woman, 2013, Oil on linen, 77 3/4 × 61 in.