JULM A Wild Mesh

Opening Reception, March 25, 7-9pm

Closing Reception, April 15, 11am-1pm

Weaving in many cultures is a sacred art, a type of magic, a spidery kind of skill.

Maya Ward / Kinship / Practice

For thousands of years people have sought to connect with the earth through plants- living matter that nourishes, strengthens, beautifies, cleanses, teaches, holds, and enlightens us. Plants possess a type of magic, and are seen by many cultures as having symbolic meaning and power: palms are a symbol of eternal life, eucalyptus a symbol of protection, and grasses a symbol of generosity.  

A Wild Mesh is a collection of recent works meditating on the magic of the natural world by fusing handmade paper with dried plant matter and risograph prints. The work is a reflection on the entangled and beautiful relationship between manmade structures and the natural world. 

Referencing Hyperobjects, Timothy Morton’s 2013 call to arms on global warming and the climate crisis, the artists attempt to blur background and foreground by weaving various grasses and plant matter through large-scale, handmade fluorescent abaca sheets. These humble, often invisible flora, some of which are sourced from the nearby Mercer Meadows, are enmeshed directly with the handmade and serve as a reminder of the environmental cost of our endless material consumption. 

The taxonomic names of plants, minerals and organic matter used and manipulated in the making of the work are broken down into simple syllabic form and wrap around the gallery, anchoring the work to the space, the ground, and the real. The text reads like poetry, open and searching.

The plant and mineral works can be seen as woven talismans for the insistent perseverance of life through both their simulated and physical realness. The addition of UV lighting activates the fluorescence found embedded within the handmade abaca sheets, heightening our senses to the physical and calling attention to the magic within.

Jason Urban and Leslie Mutchler (JULMStudios) have been working collaboratively since 2012; they live and work in Brooklyn, New York. As a collaborative duo, they exercise a coequal approach to art and life that focuses on research and problem-solving. With a relationship of physical to metaphysical in mind, their practice is increasingly about the natural world and the way digital technologies influence and distort its relationship to nature.

The pair has had solo exhibitions at Center for Book Arts (New York, NY), Monaco (St. Louis, MO), the Delaware Contemporary (Wilmington, DE), NARS Foundation (Brooklyn, NY), Grizzly Grizzly (Philadelphia, PA), The Print Center (Philadelphia, PA), Centre for Fine Print Research (Bristol, UK), Space Gallery (Portland, ME), Atelier Circulaire (Montreal, Canada), among others. They have been awarded numerous residencies including Edition/Basel in Basel, Switzerland, Cork Printmakers International Visiting Artist Residency in Cork, Ireland and Dieu Donne Workspace Residency in Brooklyn. Both are affiliated with Pratt Institute where Mutchler is Chair of the Foundation Program and Urban teaches publishing courses in the Communication Design program.