Emerging Artist Pick: Julia Dault (b.1977, Toronto, Canada)

Julia Dault’s paintings and sculptural installations hold a number of polarities in a delicate state of tension: restraining systems are countered by moments of chaotic slippage; mechanical processes are balanced by an emphasis on the bodily gesture; and a seductive formal refinement is married to an embrace of garish materials and lowbrow cultural references. Her sculptural works are constructed from looped sheets of Plexiglas and formica, which she coerces into bound, bulging stacks, the final form of which is dictated by her ability to literally bend her industrial materials to her will in a performative act of physical mastery. Dault’s paintings are abstract compositions that she creates by building up varied layers of fabric, vinyl, and paint, only to fracture these strata using improvised tools and readymade objects, frequently deploying repetitive, allover gestures of scraping or incising.

Heavy Metal (at right) shows Dault simultaneously exercising two different marks over a membrane of black paint; a process that at times breaks down into cloudy areas of irregularity. In revealing the inner surface – in this case a stretched canvas that has a lightly glittered finish – Dault’s act of painterly excavation confuses the threshold between pigment and ground, opening up shifting voids and currents in the pictorial space.

Above Image:  Julia Dault, Heavy Metal, 2012, Oil on metallic canvas, 72 x 60” (182.9 x 152.4 cm)

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