Julia Jo: Swoon
September 21-November 4
Jessica Silverman is pleased to announce Julia Jo: Swoon, the Brooklyn-based painter’s first exhibition with the gallery and in San Francisco, on view September 21 through November 4, 2023. In Jo’s distinctive style of oil painting, bodily forms unite with swarms of bold, curvilinear brush strokes. The oscillation between figuration and abstraction generates a flow between internal feelings and external gestures. Featuring a vibrant palette, her paintings document a rhythmic, and often agitating exploration into the limits of human connection.
Born in Seoul, Jo spent her childhood and adolescence moving between South Korea and various places across the United States. Throughout her peripatetic adolescence, she relied on practiced, performative exchanges of language, personas, and cultural social codes. Today, Jo engages in a form of action painting as a release from the rehearsed gestures of her youth, surrendering to speed and emotion. The canvases display churning strokes and swirls into tidal-like compositions of color and form. Amidst layers of violet, forest green, and crimson, traces of bodies appear. Hints of an extended leg, a stiletto shoe, a pregnant body, or a martini glass leave the viewer wanting more.
In a seductively titled painting, Come Hither (2023), faces morph into limbs, limbs into breasts, and breasts into phalluses. This sea of biomorphic forms begs if the characters are embracing in a loving encounter, or writhing with angst and suffering. The paintings, however, do not refer to specific people or narratives, but reveal the spectrum of emotion embodied by all bodies. Jo’s work invites the viewer to explore how emotions like desire, joy, loneliness and sadness, are registered from different vantage points.
The exhibition will feature a selection of the artist’s signature large-scale square format paintings, and a debut of small-scale paintings. Interested in capturing “a universe within the square,” Jo consistently works with variations on this form as a space for shifting between expansion and containment. The result is an accumulation of marks and layers– an outpouring of the ever compelling dynamics of the human psyche and interpersonal relations.
Drawing upon a deep well of moments lost in translation, Jo’s paintings position bodies as interlocutors and abstractions as emotions. In doing so, the artist probes the generative and restrictive limits of communication to find deeper, more intimate experiences.
Julia Jo (b. 1991, Seoul, South Korea) holds a MFA from Parsons School of Design and a BFA from Smith College. Her work is in the permanent collection of ICA Miami, among numerous international private collections. In the past year, she has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Charles Moffett, New York, NY and James Fuentes, Los Angeles. In the fall of 2023, she will participate in the esteemed Beecher Residency in Litchfield, CT. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and is represented by Charles Moffett, New York.