For her first solo museum exhibition, Julia Rommel (b. 1980, Salisbury, Maryland) will debut a series of new paintings presented alongside small works from 2010 to 2012. Rommel’s oil paintings range from head to body size, and oscillate between cool and warm palettes, color fields of denim blues, moody greys, creamy whites, salmon pinks, and citrus hues. All are intimately connected to their edges, as they are stretched and re-stretched numerous times over the course of their making in a physical wrangle of layering and effacing.
As with a haiku, Rommel’s seemingly accessible surfaces belie their mysterious complexity, involving a laborious choreography of cutting, sanding, wiping, expunging, and overlaying, as the build-up and break down of the composition both reveals and disguises a history of choices and decisions, giving the paintings a rhythm and expression not unlike a life cycle. Taken in concert, Rommel’s stressed surfaces, with their bends, folds, cracks, frayed edges, and staple holes, have a vitality that connects them to the viewer—and the viewer to the works—in various stages of being and becoming.
Curated by Amy Smith-Stewart.
Generous support for this exhibition has been provided by The Coby Foundation.