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Anna Virnich, Untitled #44 (Nov 15:58), 2017, polyester, tulle, and nettle on wood, 69 7/8 x 120".

Anna Virnich

Arratia Beer

Anna Virnich, Untitled #44 (Nov 15:58), 2017, polyester, tulle, and nettle on wood, 69 7/8 x 120".

What hit you first about these works was their scent. Sweet and subtly intense, it was not so much perfumed as organic. It was also vaguely familiar, even if it was not what you’d expect from a group of abstract paintings. This disconcerting quality is a deliberate component of Anna Virnich’s work. Even before you realize what’s happening, your experience of looking is pervaded by the sense of smell, which combines with the picture’s visual meaning to become part of its elusive materiality.

Virnich’s work is particularly concerned with the interplay between materiality and perception. Her large panel pictures look like paintings but are actually produced without a single brushstroke. They’re collages that the artist has sewn together using carefully chosen fabrics—most of them thin and translucent, though they can also include materials such as leather—stretched over

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