39 Lispenard St

January 20 - February 18, 2023

Freight + Volume is thrilled to present Album, an exhibition of new paintings by Julia Rooney. Album will be on view at 39 Lispenard St. Tribeca, New York, NY 10013. The opening reception will be on Friday, January 20, 2023 | 6:00 - 8:00 PM.

Album will be on view from January 20 - February 18, 2023. This exhibition will be accompanied by a limited-edition artist book.

Please join us for the closing reception of Album on Saturday February 18th | 2:00 - 6:00PM



Album is a show about the peculiar and embodied act of making and seeing a painting. At radically different scales—as small as one’s phone screen to as wide as six feet of social distance—Rooney’s paintings compel the viewer to look and to feel in person, to move their body up close, then far away, and close again. As though adjusting the resolution, viewers may discern detail within each painting, or the choreography between the works as they playfully inhabit the gallery’s architecture. This embodied experience of viewing, where zooming-in and zooming-out yield different information, underscores Rooney’s ongoing fascination with scale as both a formal and conceptual tool for grounding the medium of painting IRL amid the homogenizing forces of our digital screens.


Central to this idea of embodiment is the painting process itself. Wielding many types of paint—from latex house paint to oil—Rooney engages in a labor-intensive, manual process that involves pouring, sanding, stitching, scraping, glazing, and gluing. All under the banner of “painting,” these hand-wrought processes are made explicit in the show’s signature painting, Album: a QR-code which hangs in the gallery’s window like an album cover. Referencing recursive coding, Album is a painting about its own making. Scanning the QR code with their phones, passersby are directed to a stop-motion animation showing step-by-step documentation of each brushstroke.


Inspired by the way files are titled by phones and computers, the rest of Rooney’s uniformly square paintings all start with OBJ, followed by a number which roughly corresponds to the month and day the painting was started. While all were completed in 2022, some pieces have underpaintings (OBJ 1001) and cut-up canvases (OBJ 0923) started nearly a decade ago. Rooney alludes to digital space through her repetition of pixelated-like passages of varying resolutions (OBJ 0518), network-like webs (OBJ 0316), illusionistic screen-like frames (OBJ 1021), and checkered patterns that suggest binary code. Others, such as OBJ 0226, explicitly riff off Mondrian’s iconic Broadway Boogie Woogie and its ongoing influence on the history of abstraction—a connection further played out through images and texts in the accompanying artist book. In her working and reworking, Rooney casts painting as a process of sustained gathering, where time and haptic knowledge enter the materiality of paint as a kind of glue.