Julia Dault (Online)

May 18 - June 7, 2020

For our next online exhibition, Marianne Boesky Gallery is delighted to present a suite of new work, including new paintings and a work on paper, by Julia Dault (b.1977, Toronto, Canada). Renowned for both her sculptural and painting practice, the artist creates abstract compositions that often reveal the processes of their own making. Dault is driven by the boundless creative and formal possibilities within the confines of self-imposed rules, which are determined by the unique materials and tools she uses. The artist’s experimentations with surface, tactility, geometry and color infuse her paintings with a dynamic, vibrant energy that compels the viewer to look closely at the surfaces of her layered compositions and discover unexpected moments of visual complexity.


In her painting process, Dault explores the space between application and removal, as well as between uniformity and difference. The artist creates each painting with a novel combination of materials, implements, and set of rules governing its making. She begins with an abstract layer composed of unmixed, monochrome paint or a commercially produced textile. She continues applying layers of paint, then rakes through the topmost, wet layer, sweeping various tools such as squeegees or combs across the surface to reveal the color and composition hidden beneath. This technique, sgraffito, is one of Dault’s most consistent and surprising tactics. The resulting marks are frequently asymmetrical, so that the actions of dragging, scratching, subtracting and revealing are legible even as the entire surface coheres into a single composition.

A unifying element across all of Dault’s paintings is the artist’s fascination with patterns, and with the slippages and imperfections that reveal the human origins of what appears mechanical. Another is the search for variety within strict limitations. The regularity of the lines, patterns and cuts the artist employs contrast with the individuality of each mark, which stems from their application with Dault’s own hands. By devising expressive gestures through rules and reasoning indicative of post-minimal and Conceptual art, Julia Dault is part of a generation of artists revitalizing abstract painting today.


The artist has been the subject of solo exhibitions at international institutions, including the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; The Power Plant, Toronto; and White Cube, London, among others. Black Dog Press recently published her first monograph, which features essays by Jason Farago, Julia Paoli, and Nigel Prince, a reprint of a chapbook by acclaimed writer Lydia Davis, as well as an artist interview with Clara Halpern. Dault’s work has been included in the New Museum Triennial and the Gwangju Biennial along with group exhibitions at the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, New Orlenas, LA; the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, FL; the MCA Chicago, Chicago, IL; and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; and the Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL. Dault lives and works in Toronto.