Marlon Mullen, Untitled (2021), via JTT
JTT presents its fourth solo show with artist Marlon Mullen this month, continuing an ongoing collaboration with a new selection of colorful abstracted works that underscore the artist’s engaging, expressive hand. Collectively, the works on view span just over 25 years and include some of his earliest, never before shown paintings from the late 1990s as well as his newest works from the past several years.
Mullen’s early compositions, which line the back gallery, consist of abstract forms layered thick on paper. Many have a broad horizon line that anchors the composition which otherwise include expressive lines of color weaving between pools and splatters of paint. Mullen paints in acrylic with his canvas or paper flat on the surface of the table allowing for rich color to build up over time as the paint dries. Figures swim in and out of view in relation to bold swoops of color and comical arrangements of cartoonish human depictions. These are bold subjugations of space and color, which draw much from the works nearby.
Marlon Mullen, Untitled (2022), via JTT
On the opposite wall in the same gallery are works on canvas that span from 2012 to 2016. In these Mullen begins to draw inspiration from magazine covers and advertisements, transforming his source material into interlocking forms and abstract shapes. Along the west wall are paintings that all feature Mullen’s meditation on the barcode into a simple pattern of six to eight carefully painted stripes. In one untitled work, the text “Gabriel Orozco” swoops over the top of an evocative, imagined landscape, playing on the dialogues between non-representation and direct callout.
Marlon Mullen, Untitled (2015), via JTT
In the front gallery, more recent paintings from 2014 to 2022 feature deliberate compositions where Mullen’s source material becomes more pronounced. In one Mullen depicts an advertisement for Pace Gallery’s 2006 Robert Irwin exhibition titled “Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue” in his unique method of writing which involves tracing the contours of each letter with the background color. Throughout, Mullen seems to delve into tensions of the art world as both lived and observed, turning its printed matter into new modes of visual exploration and reimainging.
The show closes February 11th.
– D. Creahan
Marlon Mullen at JTT [Exhibition Site]