Julia Fish: bound by spectrum

September 12 – December 15

/ 2019

“Julia Fish: bound by spectrum” presents a survey of the last decade of Fish’s artwork while providing new scholarship around her ongoing gesamtkunstwerk that brings together the disciplines of painting and architecture. For three decades, Fish has used her house and its vernacular architecture of a Chicago storefront workspace designed by Theodore Steuben in 1922 as the basis for a system of mapping color, form, and light in abstract paintings and works on paper. Painting architectural details at actual size from observation, she creates a subjective response to objective information, informed by effects of light in space, time of day, the seasons, cardinal direction, and her own physical vantage point. Fish examines and recontextualizes evidence of the house, most recently thresholds between rooms, in relationship to painting which eludes pure abstraction because it is, in fact, a pictorial depiction of real spaces filtered through Fish’s increasingly complex visual logic. Fish states, “While working in reverse to the norm of architectural process —from house to image/plan— I have come to understand these highly differentiated works as propositional, a cumulative archive, another form of ‘home.’ Referencing the tangible, yet materially and selectively re-embodied, I would hope that this ‘doubled’ house/home might give form to the meaningful yet intangible conditions and contradictions of life, now so evident in this restless, 21st century.”

Fish’s work is anything but restless. Eschewing the fast pace of superficial impressions inherent to making or looking today, Fish explores what it means to deeply inhabit and observe the details of a space that is both her home and studio for decades under various conditions and to translate that experience, slowly, into color and form with the language of painting. The effect is an understanding of architecture from the perspective of an individual’s lived experience over a long duration within a particular space and how the translation of details of that architecture into painting may become a unique historical archive of that space.