Julia Dault Talks “Electric Youth” at Art Toronto

Julia Dault’s vibrant works—abstract paintings on vinyl and metallic sculptures, rolled up like giant ribbons on gallery walls—offer a playful take on minimalism while also revealing the artist’s coming of age during the 1980s and ’90s in North America. After emerging in the New Museum’s 2012 triennial, “The Ungovernables”, her work received its due attention during New York’s art fair season in 2013: Neville Wakefield highlighted her work at Frieze New York, as did Howard Rachofsky at the Armory Show. She even made her fashion debut in New York this fall, collaborating with designer Jeremy Laing on his Spring/Summer 2014 collection. On October 27, as part of Art Toronto’s 2013 lecture series Power Talks, the Toronto-raised, Brooklyn-based Dault presents Coming Home, a talk on conceptions of home in life and art, and popular-culture influences that have impacted her work.

Dault’s 2- and 3-D works interact harmoniously, sharing the act of building and reducing layers to create a balanced stasis. To make her sculptures she works in a single session, employing Plexiglas, formica, and box wraps to wind together an unwieldy pile of tubular forms, which she secures together as tightly as possible, depending on her strength that day. She leaves the sculptures untitled, but numbers them and includes the time of day during which they were created, further emphasizing the process behind the work. New York Times writer Holland Cotter dubbed the sculptures “Fluxus with muscle.” Her paintings involve layers of paint often with black as the top layer, which she scrapes away with squeegees and combs to reveal wild colors, abstract patterns, and energetic compositions.

During her Power Talk, Dault will discuss the influence of Debbie Gibson’s 1989 album “Electric Youth,” including her iconic bubblegum pop, as well as a more mature sound. But this comes as no surprise, as Dault titles many of her paintings after 1980s and ’90s pop references and song titles—Electric Youth, More Than Words, and L.A. Confidential to name a few. Her preference for vinyl, nylon, and pleather canvases, rainbow colors, and inflections of gold and silver also reflect the exuberant spirit of that time.

Dault’s talk is one of three Power Talks at Art Toronto, October 27–29th, which are presented in collaboration with the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. Other talks will be given by Tom Eccles and Chantal Pontbriand. Tom Eccles, Executive Director of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, presents Curating Collections, discussing the founding of the Hessel Museum of Art and the museum as a resource for teaching. Chantal Pontbriand, contemporary art curator and critic considers contemporary art practices of the past two decades and the role of Canadian art within a global context in her talk The Contemporary, The Common: Indispensable Links in a Global World.

All Power Talks are presented at the Metro Toronto Convention Center during Art Toronto 2013, on the Art Toronto Stage. Power Talks are free with daily admission to Art Toronto. Attend all three talks with the 3-Day Power Talks Pass $40 available online or onsite.

Tom Eccles gives his talk, Curating Collections on Friday October 25 from 6-7pm.

Chantal Pontbriand gives her talk, The Contemporary, The Common: Indispensable Links in a Global World on Saturday, October 26 from 3-4pm.

Julia Dault gives her talk, Coming Home on October 27 from 3-4pm.

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