Nazarian / Curcio is pleased to present Trojan Horses, a group of seven new paintings by New York- based Bridget Mullen. This will be the artist’s third solo exhibition with the gallery and the first major body of work in which she has used oil, rather than Flashe or acrylic, as her primary medium.

In a text written specifically about these new works Mullen states:

The paintings in Trojan Horses expand on my proclivity for pitting figuration against abstraction and take formal clarity to new degrees. Like previous bodies of work, this series maintains a position of bipolarity: figures’ moods waver between exhausted and exalted, nefarious and playful, caged and protected, aimless and directed, hugged and clenched, and sharing and self-forgetting. Unlike previous bodies of work, figures appear less abstract and noticeably distinct from their grounds, reflexively signaling narrative cues. This legibility is a ruse. Instead of delivering clear meaning, the paintings in Trojan Horses summon a quality of entanglement—they speak to the way things can be inextricably connected despite appearing otherwise.

I use painting like a foil or a Rorschach, I treat it like a moving cloud—not sketching figures at the start but finding imagery through the repurposing of initial abstractions.

Painting is less a transcript of an idea and more a loop of mutation, with the impetus that started a painting changing over the course of its becoming. For me, the whole point of painting is to be in the mud with ideas previously uncoupled. Painting as instigator, infiltrator, revelator—equal parts randomness with its necessary constraints and equal parts intentionality. Via this free-associative process, I ‘Trojan horse’ ideas and feelings into a painting, and in turn the painting becomes a Trojan horse for things that can’t be fully grasped by language alone.

Invisible Earths Bridget Mullen Nazarian Curcio detail

Mullen’s newest paintings pursue a formal indeterminacy. This is reflected in the posture of the figures, which oscillate between bursts of manic energy and a state of near-total exhaustion. In Builder’s Arms, for

example, the figure emerges from a magenta abyss behind the grid or scaffold we assume they have built. Spent by the effort or taking a pause, the figure slumps forward, held by a large spider web that weaves in and out of the structure, immobilizing them. Neither caught nor complicit, the figure’s arm ends in a willful fist, an apt metaphor for the way that art consumes the artist even as it offers a means for realization. Mullen’s work is a recognition of the double-sided character of desire—of the anxious hope, painful pleasure, and inextricable entanglement that it holds in tension—a Trojan horse of Trojan horses.