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 project that brings together the disciplines of painting, drawing, and architecture.  The exhibition will include twelve to fourteen paintings and ten to fifteen works on paper, to be selected from the two inter-related series, titled “Threshold” and “Lumine,” 2009 – 2019.  The exhibition will coincide with the third Chicago Architecture Biennial.

For three decades, Fish has used her house and its vernacular architecture— a Chicago storefront workspace designed by Theodore Steuben in 1922— as the basis for a system of mapping color, form, and light in paintings and works on paper. Rendering architectural details at actual size and 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, within paintings, which elude pure abstraction:  they are, in fact, depictions of transitional 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, the artist explores what it means to deeply inhabit and observe the details of home and studio as subject under various conditions. Reenvisioning that experience, slowly, through color and form within the language of painting, Fish offers an understanding of architecture from the perspective of an individual’s lived experience within a particular space, and how such translations as paintings establish a unique historical archive of that space.