Parallelograms in different shades of blue gouache fill the background of Julia Marsh’s “Chicago Ave.,” underneath a grid of dark lines, joined by white dots and some red and pink intersecting segments. It seems like a pattern, something regular that happens over and over again, and it is, though with unpredictable and chaotic segments, where even the most careful viewer cannot know what will appear next. The drawing on paper belongs to “The Breach,” a series Marsh began in 2017 and which is based on her memory of places in which she experienced trauma. Shapes and patterns emerge from the past, connected to the physical layout of those spaces and the designs of wallpaper or clothing encountered therein; Marsh draws and redraws those figments, eventually coalescing them into compositions whose beauty is a startling rejoinder to the injury they represent. Personal life can be incredibly messy and difficult. How wise Marsh is, to process it through an aesthetic system of her own invention, thereby taking charge of past situations that originally took charge of her. The delicacy and focus enacted by her method enacts a kind of making—and looking—that blocks out everything else.
—Lori Waxman 10/13/2023 12:17 PM