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Julia Schmidt, New Fabrics

Casey Kaplan Gallery
525 West 21st Street, 212-645-7335
October 14 - November 11, 2006
Reception: Saturday, October 14, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

For the exhibition New Fabrics, Julia will present a new series of oil on MDF-board paintings. Schmidt is a key figure of a new generation of German painters whose work resists the bold gestures of her contemporaries, opting instead to focus on details, traces, and omissions.

The works in this exhibition-new fabrics-visit a panoply of subjects. Depicting both representational and abstract imagery, Schmidt portrays her aesthetic totems in muted hues with a cool, detached beauty. Inconsequential objects—blotches, skirt hems, and debris—are painted with the same painstaking precision as 18th century portraits, baroque tables, and sumptuous leather handbags.

Working with different methods and often reclaiming discarded objects and imagery, Schmidt sidesteps the conformity of a single artistic style. Her paintings often demonstrate an old master-like attention to detail: rich impasto, tonal gradation, and high gloss surfaces. While she uses the classical technique of oil painting, her brushstrokes often appear hacked and staccato, and while her small (even miniature) formats are relatively standardized, her canvas is made from industrial chipboard—a material that lends her paintings an attitude of indifference or self-effacement.

By focusing on flawed, unstudied, and forgotten subjects, Schmidt redirects our attention to blurred backgrounds, peripheral views, and minute details. Schmidt’s appropriation of the overlooked proclaims the significance and wonder of marginal and low-key subjects, addressing her concerns with value and artifice, use and ornament. With all the paintings in the exhibition, Schmidt’s method of visual reduction alongside optical saturation posits what constitutes artistic beauty within the decadence of high art.
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