“Album” Exhibition

Freight + Volume (39 Lispenard St.)

poster for “Album” Exhibition
[Image: Julia Rooney "OBJ 1024" (2022) oil on linen, 30 x 30 in.]

This event has ended.

Freight + Volume presents Album, an exhibition of new paintings by Julia Rooney.

OBJ 1024, is currently featured in Artsy’s Trove: Editor’s Pick, a list of selected contemporary artworks by Artsy’s curatorial team.

Album is a show about the peculiar and embodied act of making and seeing a painting. At radically different scales—as small as one’s phone-screen to as wide as six feet of social distance—Rooney’s paintings compel the viewer to look and to feel in person, to move their body up close, then far away, and close again. As though adjusting the resolution, viewers may discern detail within each painting, or the choreography between the works as they playfully inhabit the gallery’s architecture. This embodied experience of viewing, where zooming-in and zooming-out yield different information, underscores Rooney’s ongoing fascination with scale as both a formal and conceptual tool for grounding the medium of painting IRL amid the homogenizing forces of our digital screens.

Julia Rooney, OBJ 1115, 2022, oil on linen and canvas, with stitching; 50 in x 50 inches
Central to this idea of embodiment is the painting process itself. Wielding many types of paint—from latex house paint to oil—Rooney engages in a labor-intensive, manual process that involves pouring, sanding, stitching, scraping, glazing, and gluing. All under the banner of “painting,” these hand-wrought processes are made explicit in the show’s signature painting Album: a QR-code which hangs in the gallery’s window like an album cover. Referencing recursive coding, Album is a painting about its own making. Scanning the QR code with their phones, passersby are directed to a stop-motion animation showing step-by-step documentation of each brushstroke.

Julia Rooney, OBJ 0923, 2022, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 inches
Inspired by the way files are titled by phones and computers, the rest of Rooney’s uniformly square paintings all start with OBJ, followed by a number which roughly corresponds to the month and day the painting was started. While all were completed in 2022, some pieces have underpaintings (OBJ 1001) and cut-up canvases (OBJ 0923) started nearly a decade ago. Rooney alludes to digital space through her repetition of pixelated-like passages of varying resolutions (OBJ 0518), network-like webs (OBJ 0316), illusionistic screen-like frames (OBJ 1021), and checkered patterns that suggest binary code. Others, such as OBJ 0226, explicitly riff off Mondrian’s iconic Broadway Boogie Woogie and its ongoing influence on the history of abstraction—a connection further played out through images and texts in the accompanying artist book. In her working and reworking, Rooney casts painting as a process of sustained gathering where time and haptic knowledge enter the materiality of paint as a kind of glue.

JULIA ROONEY is a multidisciplinary artist whose work explores the space between analog and digital media, gesturing towards a world in which the two tenuously coexist. While rooted in painting, her practice often bridges other disciplines including papermaking and collaborations through the USPS. Her recent solo shows, Screen Shot (Jennifer Terzian Gallery, 2022, Litchfield, CT) and @SomeHighTide (Arts+Leisure, 2021, East Harlem, NY) featured a series of phone-sized and laptop-sized paintings installed both physically at the galleries, and digitally on her eponymous Instagram account, which she intermittently reactivates for site-specific projects as an ongoing form of inquiry into social media. She continued this research as a 2021-22 Happy and Bob Doran CT Artist-in-Residence through Yale University Art Gallery and Artspace New Haven, culminating in the group exhibition Footnotes and Other Embedded Stories. Her ongoing series “paper paper”— made entirely of pulpified and re-formed newspapers—has been exhibited at The Weatherspoon Art Museum (Greensboro, NC, 2021), Real Eyes Gallery (Adams, MA, 2021), Kopeikin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA, 2019) and is currently on long-term loan at The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut.

Rooney is currently an Artist-in-Residence at The Joan Mitchell Center (New Orleans, LA) and has previously been awarded residencies and/or fellowships through The Studios at MASS MoCA (North Adams, MA), More Art’s Engaging Artists (New York, NY), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s SU CASA (New York, NY), Yale Prison Education Initiative (New Haven, CT), DNA Residency (Provincetown, MA), and the Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT). Rooney received her BA in Visual & Environmental Studies from Harvard College and her MFA in Painting from Yale School of Art.
There will be a limited edition artist book by Julia Rooney scheduled to launch on January 6th.



from January 06, 2023 to February 04, 2023

Opening Reception on 2023-01-06 from 18:00 to 20:00

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