The works in the show blur the lines between painting, sculpture and collage and manifest her ongoing interest in the still-life tradition and the framing of the ceramic object.
For this show, Mullin continues to compose wall-bound reliefs that hold ceramic vessels and floral arrangements while entering new territory on the floor with free-standing steel sculptural displays. The large scale CNC folded tables and plinths have been translated from small, hand-cut paper maquettes that Mullin and her husband, artist Tony Mullin composed together. They retain a sense of the handmade and humor by directly enlarging and rendering the paper cut-outs without finessing their irregular shapes. The conversations the two had while making the works were escapist, recalling shared travels and memories, from visiting the Capitoline museums in Rome to exploring the modernist buildings and gardens in Chandigarh.
The displays lift the ceramic objects, presenting them to the viewer like a sculpture of Atlas holding the globe, creating colorful altars that celebrate the vessels they support and the foral elements that adorn them. The vessels are made from a variety of clay bodies, from Parian white porcelain to brown groggy earthenware. Each has been rolled and constructed on raw canvas. The texture is transferred to the clay, creating a ground for the drippy glazes and pastel mark-making which maintains the works’ connection to painting.
The collaborative aspect from which the free-standing shelves emerged is equally essential to one of the major visual influences on the exhibition: the 1950s exhibition designs by Italian architect Franco Albini and curator Caterina Marcenaro. Their projects and emphasis on lightness and atmosphere redefined how historical artifacts and paintings could be displayed in the modern museum. Other vital influences on the works include the abstract cut-outs of Matisse, the scribbly lines of Saul Steinberg, the acrobatic floating displays of Albini and the jungle architecture of Lina Bo Bardi. These new colorful and blooming pieces feel like a renaissance of life itself, celebrating the handmade vessel, flamboyant motifs, and the natural world.
Emily Mullin (b. 1984 in Santa Monica, CA) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She studied at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA and at Goldsmiths, University of London in London, UK.
Solo exhibitions include shows at Jack Hanley Gallery (NY), Lucien Terras (NY), Tennis Elbow (BK) in and Sunday Takeout (BK). She has been included in group exhibitions at Able Baker Contemporary, Maine, Mrs. Gallery, Queens, Kate Werble Gallery and Casey Kaplan Gallery in New York.