The Whitney to debut public artwork by Jill Mulleady, March 2

Jill Mulleady

Image credit: Jill Mulleady (b. 1980-), ‘We Wither Time into a Coil of Fright,’ 2019. Oil on linen, two panels, left panel: 66 1/8 x 35 3/8 in. (168 x 90 cm); right panel: 66 1/8 x 78 3/4 in. (168 x 200 cm), reproduced as vinyl print on billboard. Collection of the artist

NEW YORK – A work by Jill Mulleady will be the tenth in the ongoing series of public art installations that have been presented since 2015 by the Whitney and High Line Art on the façade of 95 Horatio Street. The 2019 painting, We Wither Time into a Coil of Fright—reproduced as a 17 x 29-foot vinyl print—will go on view on March 2 on the southwest corner of Gansevoort and Washington Streets, located directly across from the Whitney and the High Line.

Mulleady is perhaps best known for her representational painting—frequently large-scale—that combines real and invented sources, while often reflecting on the history of art. With work that is notable for its graphic qualities, often referencing early twentieth-century Modernist painting, Mulleady draws upon her interest in Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, using his work as a creative springboard for her surreal world-making, and proposing the possibility of the co-existence of multiple temporalities in a single composition. Through her moody use of color, Mulleady further emphasizes this notion of existential isolation, an idea she has revisited repeatedly in her work, and that she sees as prevalent in this era of digital technology and the ubiquitous smartphone.

In We Wither Time into a Coil of Fright, Mulleady presents a surreal landscape populated by multiple figures in a scene she has described as a sort of “dance.” Though the figures are clustered close to one another by the riverbank, they appear disconnected—even self-absorbed. Suggesting that contemporary life is simultaneously hyper-connected and ultimately isolating, Mulleady heightens this dynamic through the lush, natural surroundings present in the scene. Without the protection and surveillance of the built environment, are these figures more free, more vulnerable, or both?

Jane Panetta, Curator and Director of the Collection, remarked, “The dialogue between repurposing art history and using decidedly contemporary references in Mulleady’s work allows for a unique recontextualization and presentation of the pressing realities of our current world, notably those of personal vulnerability and angst.”

We Wither Time into a Coil of Fright is part of a series of public art installations, organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art in partnership with TF Cornerstone and High Line Art, that has previously featured works by noted American artists, including Alex Katz (2014), Michele Abeles (2015), Njideka Akunyili Crosby (2015–2016), Torbjørn Rødland (2016-2017), Puppies Puppies (2017), Do Ho Suh (2017-2018), Christine Sun Kim (2018), Derek Fordjour (2018), and Lucas Blalock (2019).

About the Artist:
Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1980, Jill Mulleady lives and works in Los Angeles. She has been shown in recent exhibitions such as May You Live in Interesting Times, Venice Biennale (2019); Fight-or-Flight, Swiss Institute, New York (2019) (solo); Claude Mirrors, Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin (2019); Feel the Sun in Your Mouth, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2020); and Emissaries for Things Abandoned by Gods, Casa Luis Barragán, Mexico City (2019). Recent solo exhibitions include: Galerie Neu, Berlin (2019); Schloss, Oslo (2018); Kunsthalle Bern (2017); Freedman Fitzpatrick, Los Angeles (2017); Gaudel de Stampa, Paris (2016); Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples (2015). Her work is in the collection of major museums and private collections including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Rubell Family Collection, Miami; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; and the Aïshti Foundation, Beirut.

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