Whitney Biennial 2017

Solo en Inglès

Painted images in a grid below "The New York Times" newspaper logo at the top

Julien Nguyen (b. 1990), Executive Function, 2017. Oil and encaustic on linen-mounted panel, 69 × 63 1/4 in. (175.3 × 160.7 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy Neue Alte Brücke, Frankfurt and Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London. Photograph by Bill Orcutt

Christopher Lew: Julien Nguyen is one of the younger artists in the exhibition, and he’s created two new paintings that play off of the graphic design of the print New York Times newspaper.

Narrator: Christopher Lew.

Christopher Lew:  For these new paintings he’s working with encaustic, so he’s actually embedding pigment right into wax as it hardens. And it’s a technique that artists such as Jasper Johns have used, but it goes all the way back to Egyptian painting.

Julien’s paintings really kind of bring together this sense of the past and the present. So he’s making references to the long lineage of painting going back to the Renaissance, but also thinking about different types of imagery coming from popular culture, such as anime or manga and cartoons, and kind of conflating these things together to kind of speak about our current moment.

Mia Locks: They’re highly constructed spaces that are very architectural.

Narrator: Mia Locks.

Mia Locks: They’re very detailed in this way that references Renaissance painting or at least that rational perspective of Renaissance painting. But they’re often or always filled with these very complex emotional figures that are either fraught or anguished or yearning. There’s always this real sense of excess of emotion that’s being contained or framed in various places in the painting.