Hyperallergic: A Painter’s Delicate, Sexual, and Clinical Visions of Birth - Bridget Mullen draws a line between the act of birth and the act of making art.

by Jennifer Remenchik

LOS ANGELES — The act of birthing a child into the world elicits strong responses: incredulity, fear, joy, disgust. In a world full of differences — personal, social, and political — birth is one of the few truly universal experiences, and despite the awesome profundity of the event, we take it for granted, perhaps because it happens all the time. As you read this sentence, someone, somewhere is birthing a new human being into the world, and it is this act that Bridget Mullen’s solo exhibition at Shulamit Nazarian, aptly titled Birthday, bases itself on. 

There is a tenderness and intimacy to the paintings, all made in 2021, that is not just an emotional projection on their subject matter. They are quite small, like picture portraits, each standing at 12 by nine inches, and are painted more delicately than much of Mullen’s other work, which tends to be populated by harsher lines and rougher forms. When seen together, the paintings are obviously anatomical: yonic amalgamations of thigh and buttock-like forms coalesce around smaller circles of vaginas and anuses, seen from both sexual and clinical points of view. 


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August 23, 2021