Julian Pace: Some Paintings is an exhibition of new work by the Los Angeles-based artist. This is Pace’s first exhibition with Simchowitz Gallery.
Julian Pace’s (b. 1988, Seattle, WA) paintings of cultural icons and political figures extend from drawings–also featured in the exhibition–ultimately realized at a larger-than-life scale on canvas. Pace has crafted a set of painterly techniques to achieve a unique dimensional and textural representation that, with his skillful figuration, captures the detail and intimacy of his moleskine drawings, which he calls the “foundation of his practice.” Examined in a sometimes humorous, other times reflective exploration of celebrity, Pace tends to focus on and embellish what makes his subjects visually distinct.
Pace’s anthropological observation of contemporary culture collides with prominent art historical reference points–from the Renaissance, through expressionism, with a particular relationship to the savvy political critique of Pop Art. With subjects ranging from sports stars to celebrity influencers, from religious icons to the anonymous muses of historical masters, Pace pulls the thread of Pop’s legacy of appropriation, celebrity worship and an intentional flattening of mass culture and high art.
This impulse takes on new meaning in Pace’s work and in the context of our extremely digital age, where celebrity and media production are distorted and even more complexly woven into our day-to-day lives and experiences. Pace’s figures are given the shoulders of giants, inflated hands, and disproportionately small heads and whether the focus is on Gandhi, Kanye West, or his friend and fellow artist Ken Taylor the treatment remains the same–a conflation of power and positionality. In the same way global news, history, culture, and updates about friends and celebrities are flattened in one endless digital scroll, confusing our sense of personal relationship to one thing or another, meaning is easily made and unmade and context becomes irrelevant as space collapses. Pace casts his subjects almost as monuments–specific time or place, accomplishments or notoriety, become less important than the buildup and presentation of meaning. Whether the person Pace is focusing on is a casual acquaintance or an icon, he treats each subject with a balance of reverence and familiarity.