Critics’ Picks

Julie Beaufils, How are you say I, just cool he says, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 65 x 59 x 1 5/8”.

Julie Beaufils, How are you say I, just cool he says, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 65 x 59 x 1 5/8”.


Julie Beaufils

Balice Hertling | 47 bis Rue Ramponeau
47 bis rue Ramponeau
November 29, 2014–January 24, 2015

Paris-born, LA-based artist Julie Beaufils’s solo debut fills this gallery with seven large paintings characterized by light brushstrokes and a muted palette. Using swaths of ochre, rose, and slate, Beaufils depicts male and female figures alone or together in various states of repose. In many cases, the works represent multiple scenes within a single composition, with canvases divided into sketchily painted boxes evoking comic-book thought bubbles, cinematic split screens, or computer pop-up windows.

Though pictorially sparse, Beaufils’s canvases are rife with sentiment, predominately lust and loneliness. Her subjects’ features are impressionistic—slit eyes, imprecise hair poofs, scant lines denoting fingers—yet they inspire intriguing interpersonal narratives through their economical marks. On the left side of How are you say I, just cool says he (all works 2014), a woman with narrowed eyes reclines, resembling an odalisque. Meanwhile, a smaller figure set within a black rectangle in the upper-right quadrant of the canvas appears asleep, head resting on folded arms. Though it is clear these individuals exist in separate realms, who is dreaming of whom remains ambiguous. Another scene of reverie, Baisser les baisers (Lower Kisses), is split vertically into two oblong boxes. On the left, a couple embraces. On the right, a series of curvaceous yellow, black, and white forms just barely conjure a recumbent female whose blonde head of hair near the bottom of the canvas indicates she is facing the couple and turned away from the viewer. Whether Beaufils’s images represent erotic daydreams or exhibitionist Skype sessions, the implication is that the virtual and the real coexist within a single multidimensional universe.