David Nolan Gallery is pleased to present Julia Fish: floret, an exhibition of six works on paper that were conceived in conjunction with her site-specific installation: floor [ floret ], at Ten in One Gallery in 1998. Shown now for the first time – 18 years after the original installation – the varied studies serve not only as documents to the project but also offer a glimpse into the artist’s formative working process.
Located near the intersection of North Damen and Milwaukee Avenues, Ten in One Gallery occupied a street-level storefront space in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. Within the gallery, the hexagonal-tiled floor with stylized “floret” patterning – commonly found in commercial spaces – served as the foundation for Fish’s installation. Planned in exacting detail on an expanse of assembled laser-printed sheets, the artist devised a numerical algorithm in which individual florets would enlarge and contract, indicating multiple paths through the space. Using a green gouache to designate the colored accumulations, the now discreet sections from the original layout appear unexpectedly abstract and belie their intricate and intentional workings.
In making the physical installation, Fish worked with custom-color, die-cut vinyl material to systematically and precisely cover the white tiles immediately surrounding the existing green floret designs, with the effect of progressively enlarging the clusters from three directions towards the center of the main gallery. Describing her experience in the space, critic Kathryn Hixson wrote at the time: “The gallery was completely ‘empty’ of any expected works of art, so there was no getting away from Fish’s floor-bound intervention… As I walked through the gallery, the ebb and flow of tiles beneath my feet swelled to almost complete blackness.” If the human experience became the animating factor of Fish’s installation, the accompanying works on paper invite comparisons to nature: like flowers in a garden through different seasons of the year, the green floret takes time to reach viral bloom.
On view concurrently in our main gallery is Barry Le Va: Cleaved Wall, a restaging of Barry Le Va’s seminal installation of 22 meat cleavers.