Valerie Jaudon’s recent paintings continue her longstanding examination, begun in the mid-1970s, of the bounded, yet infinitely expandable world of the finely wrought, intricate, and maze-like abstract image. This exhibition is titled Prepositions, and refers – obliquely of course – to a word or words governing, and usually preceding, a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word or element in the clause. These paintings function as abstract connectors, as visual demonstrations of organizing, placing, locating, and explaining. Prepositions are most often simple words – “inside,” “outside,” “next to,” “before,” “after” – but they allow for complexity, accuracy, and comprehensibility.
Valerie Jaudon’s paintings are similarly complex, exact, and knowable. They combine clarity, flatness, precision, and ready apprehension with a slowed down, demanding part-to-part, part-to-whole read. It is an arena where sensual, carefully worked and refractive surfaces push up against the steady rhythm of structured lines – forms laid out in arrays that seem to be on one hand perfectly logical and legible, useful and practical (in a metaphorical way), and on the other, tantalizingly elusive and austerely romantic. Most of her titles come from the world of music, and the musical underpinnings of her work show themselves in multifaceted contrapuntal organizations combined with visually melodic passages nearly undone by carefully implanted dissonance, and by the persistence of organizing themes and articulated movements. A simplified palette, evocative of the classical world – white, black, the rich umber of exposed linen, the occasional blued steel gray – gives the work a certain deliberate (and deliberative) cadence and calm. It turns the eye to the painting as a whole, away from the artist’s evident virtuosity and steady hand, her involvement in every part of the carefully crafted object.
This work has been long in the making and Prepositions is the latest phase of a career that has approached painting with the gravity and seriousness it deserves, but also with a sense of playfulness, pleasure, and visual wit. These are paintings to think about, experience, and enjoy.
Jaudon is the recipient of numerous awards and grants and her work has been collected by and exhibited in major museums. Among them are The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; McNay Art Museum, San Antonio; St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louise; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany; the Louisiana Museum of Modern art, Humlebaeck, Denmark; Ludwig Forum Internationale Kunst, Aachen, Germany.
Recent museum exhibitions including Jaudon’s work include With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972-1985, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2019-2020); Less is a Bore: Maximalist Art & Design, Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (2019); Pattern and Decoration: Ornament as Promise, Ludwig Forum, Aachen, Germany, traveled to mumok Vienna and Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary (2018-2019); Pattern, Decoration & Crime, MAMCO, Geneva, Switzerland, traveled to Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2018-2019).
This exhibition runs concurrently with Darren Waterston: Notes from the Air.
For press inquiries contact Caroline Magavern.
Valerie Jaudon: Prepositions. DC Moore Gallery, 2020. Digital catalogue with essay by Raphael Rubinstein. 28 pages.