20 May 2007
The unwieldy plaster ground of Judith Mullen’s frescoes makes it impractical to use them for the poetic purpose that seems embedded in them: to serve as maps for getting lost and found and then lost again. An entire history of non-objective modernist painting—from Kandinsky through Miro and Matta and on to late Bontecou—is recalled through Mullen’s idiosyncratic forms, wispy looping lines, colorful yet earthy pigments, and dancing all-over compositions, but somewhere along the way these frescoes took a meandering turn through Situationism. And there begins their map-like quality, for how else to understand the occasional depiction of a “no parking” or “men at work” sign? Suddenly those abstract marks morph into roads and routes, the view turns aerial, and one not only wonders but wanders across the stained and painted surface.