Jill Mulleady's first show at Gladstone Gallery recently opened in Brussels, firmly establishing her position within an elite group of young painters garnering institutional, critical, and commercial success.
Born in Uruguay in 1980, Mulleady now lives and works in Los Angeles, where she is represented by Freedman Fitzpatrick. In 2019, her paintings were included in Ralph Rugoff's impressive edition of the Venice Biennale, followed by a solo exhibition at the Swiss Institute in New York. The Hammer Museum have already added her work to their permanent collection, having included her in their 2020 edition of Made in L.A.
Mulleady stands out amidst the flock of young figurative painters currently on trend, perhaps due to her more measured career path and a rigorous approach to painting, as well as the presence of that mysterious and magical quality so often sought by artists.
Mulleady's paintings oscillate between complex, non-linear narratives and micro-cosmic details that harness metaphorical potency. While her painterly world is fantastical, it is very much connected to her daily life, often featuring friends or even herself alongside characters from her imagination.
Narrative elements are gleaned from literature and art history, but these are interwoven with contemporary references, resulting in slippery, time-bending ensembles.
These atmospheric scenes are hugely affected by her use of colour, enveloping images with tones that move between natural and lurid; warm and cool, instantly manipulating our emotional interaction with the work.
At times violent and absurd, Mulleady's whimsical paintings invite us to question what is real or dreamt, opening up the possibility of alternate realities.—[O]