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Julia Fish
DePaul Art Museum, Chicago, Illinois
Recommendation by Robin Dluzen

Julia Fish,"Threshold, Southwest-One [spectrum : red]," 2011-12, oil on canvas. Private collection, Chicago. Photo: Tom Van Eynde

Continuing through February 23, 2020


In her quiet, minimalist works Julia Fish ensures that the way we experience space is changed. For decades, Fish has cast her formalist eye upon the details of the domestic environment. In this survey of the artist’s work from the past ten years, the light, palette and architecture of her own home provide the basis for her unique perceptions of the abstract within the representational. The thresholds of her house — the places where flooring changes from tile to hardwood, where door jambs and trim punctuate indoor passageways — are the compositional and conceptual inspiration.


However, Fish doesn’t depict this in any obvious way. In her paintings and works on paper, the chosen subject matter is rendered in lines, bracketed shapes and a rainbow of colors — but in small doses. Still, she includes just enough information to enable decoding her abstraction, like the honeycomb motif of the small hexagon tiles found in so many old Chicago homes. Or a single representational painting of a light fixture that opens the exhibition, “Study for Lumine II” (2009). Fish captures the shifting hues of daylight, illustrates and elevates the vernacular details we so often overlook, and locates a wealth of inspiration from the rote patterns of everyday living.

DePaul Art Museum

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