Bridget Mullen is the ruler of an unruly roost. Between 2021 and 2023, she gave birth to forty-seven paintings, each twelve-by-nine inches: kin ugly and cute, monstrous, fleshy, repulsive, droopy-eyed, and sneering as they cross the universal threshold into the no less frightening world that awaits. Birthday reunites Mullen's uncanny litter alongside a conversation between the artist and Lucas Blalock.
The paintings in New York-based artist Bridget Mullen's Birthday series utilize two distinct parameters to guide the creation of the iterative works: a vertical orientation at an intimate scale of 12 x 9 inches and a visualization of perhaps the ultimate creative act—the moment of birth. Through this consistent scale and thematic hyper focus, the artist employs endless formal variations in composition, color, and paint application. The result is a series of paintings that share a common structure yet champion individuality.
Contrasting colors provoke a visible tension, one that is at times compressed and, in other moments, elastic. Suddenly, abstract shapes come into focus as human anatomies, capable of expressing emotion. Undulating lines of various thicknesses and layered colors squeeze together, revealing peculiar faces and gestures that emerge from a central point. The repetition of thin lines creates a visual stutter of pigment, alluding to the passage of time or rapid movement.
The works in Birthday build on Mullen's practice, combining color, decisive mark-making, intuition, and experimentation to conjure psychedelic configurations. Sculptural dimensionality and flatness, representation and abstraction, and solidity and fluidity, serve not as dichotomies within these works, but as two complementary halves of a whole. Together, the forms and figures of the Birthday series are imbued with a sense of life, pregnant with agency and potential.