Since he came into the contemporary art consciousness in the midst of the pandemic in 2020, Julian Pace has been playing with form. Not just how a body looks, but also what the memory does to form. When he paints his large-scale canvases, he bases them on the smallest of Moleskine drawings. And the large-scale works are just that; larger than life, proportioned to be larger than the viewer, and thus, thrusting the icon, whether it be pop-cultural or historic, into an almost intimidating and audacious relationship with the viewer. To be familiar with the subjects is quite important, though, but not essential. 

Opening on June 3rd, De Brock Gallery in Belgium will host the Seattle-born, Los Angeles-based Pace’s first European solo show, just on the heels of his standout Front and Back exhibition at Simchowitz in LA this Spring. Where the viewer often sees someone famous staring back at them at a Pace show, he isn’t necessarily thinking of the subject in the same way. “I think I'm more interested in the human form and the people rather than who they are necessarily,” Pace told us recently. It's very random sometimes… I use these forms to explore color and abstraction and all that, and of course, using different materials.” Having spent significant time in Italy in his youth, heading back to Europe is a bit of a homecoming for the painter. His work harkens back to a majestic sense of fantasy from his characters, like religious paintings of centuries ago where even if you couldn’t namecheck the saint, you could feel the immense weight they carried as symbols. Pace should feel right at home. —Evan Pricco