The Half That Ties, The Half That Breaks
November 8 – December 21, 2019
Gallery One

Exhibition Text


ANDREW RAFACZ is pleased to announce the opening of our new location at 1749 West Chicago Avenue with The Half That Ties, The Half That Breaks, a solo exhibition of new works by Julia Bland in Gallery One. The exhibition continues through Saturday, December 21, 2019.

For her inaugural exhibition in Chicago, Bland presents a body of new works that approach the rhythm and weight of their repeated geometric forms through a series of intertwined processes. Through acts of weaving, cutting, burning, sewing, dying and painting, Bland continually assembles and dissembles various materials to create her final forms and resultant imagery. Repeatedly burning and layering sheets of canvas, the edges darken and follow their natural patterns outward like topographical maps. She cuts, ties, and paints these into swaths of fabric that have been woven and died by hand. Shedding definitive notions of creation and destruction, the surfaces emerge as the immediate record of these evolving, dialectical transformations.

The structures and images that emerge are complexly layered and tied conceptually to the history of painting, while pushing beyond it materially. They function within this context while striving for something akin to the imaginary.

Bland’s practice has also recently progressed to include works that have moved off of the wall and into the space itself, emphasizing the physical construction alongside the internal images and illusions without negating them. The two sides of these suspended works function like the interior and exterior of a body; one like a skin that communicates through its features and expressions, and the other as the muscles and skeleton that reveal the structure and sensibility of the work as it comes together through a set of desires and material negotiations.

For Bland, weaving manifests the myriad ways human beings ask and answer questions of being, difference, desire, and community. She explains, ‘our notions of time, justice, fate, and the eternal are all bound in the language and metaphors of weaving, and it is almost impossible to talk about our relationships with each other and to our community without invoking its complex materiality. We are tied together, truth unravels, lives intertwine, we follow a thread, cut it out, etc.’

JULIA BLAND (American, b. 1986) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her BFA from RISD in 2008 and her MFA from The Yale School of Art in 2012. She has been an artist in residence at The Macdowell Colony, Yaddo, The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Lighthouse Works, The Sharpe-Walentas Space Program, The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, and The Shandaken Project: Storm King. She has received awards including The Milton and Sally Avery Fellowship from Yaddo, The Carol Scholsberg Memorial Prize, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Trust Travel Fellowship, and The Florence Leif Award for Excellence in Painting. Recent solo exhibitions include The Lighthouse Works (Fisher’s Island, NY), Helena Anrather (New York, NY), Miller Contemporary & Stellar Projects (New York, NY), and On Stellar Rays (New York, NY). Recent group exhibitions include Yossi Milo (New York, NY), TSA (Philadelphia, PA), September Gallery (Hudson, NY), Dimensions Variable (Miami, FL), On Stellar Rays (New York, NY), NYU Institute of Fine Arts (New York, NY), Cuevas Tilleard (New York, NY), Ortega y Gasset (Brooklyn, NY), and CES Gallery (Los Angeles, CA). She will be included in group exhibitions at Chambers Fine Art (Beijing, China) in 2019 and the Everson Museum, Syracuse NY in 2020. Her work is currently on view in Even Thread (Has) a Speech, at the John Michael Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, WI.

Selected Press