For his fourth solo show, Plastic Blastula, at Western Exhibitions, Paul Nudd presents a selection of large-scale paintings depicting an ambiguous and chaotic prenatal cosmic universe, densely populated by a series of many rapidly transforming and colliding embryonic cleavages. Collectively they can be seen as a forceful and monumental continuation of many of Nudd’s aesthetic and formal obsessions: bodies in distress, molecular anxiety, blobs and biomorphic abstraction, disease, malformation, mutation and uncontrollable biological forces. The show opens with a free public reception from 5 to 8pm on Friday, April 19 and runs through June 1, 2019.

A blastula is a pre-embryonic cellular blob of matter that eventually morphs into a fetus. Plasticity similarly induces a development or transmutation of nature as plastic is created through a seemingly science-fiction derived embryonic mass production. Both blastulas and plastics can be deformed in any direction, but plastic differs from these pre-embryonic forms in that it is materially permanent and impenetrable. Plastic is unnatural and can be molded and stretched to fit in or around anything. If birth is rupture, plastic birth is rupture without rupture.

In Nudd’s worldview, Plastic Blastula walks the line between cautionary apocalyptic tale and orgiastic revelry. His canvases are littered with malformed phosphorescent fetal forms and prenatal neo-punk youngsters of varying size, mass and scale that expressionistically exhume the unnatural falsehoods that exist at our most plasmic level. Nudd’s new primal sludge runs slow and deep as artificially colored, viscous high-fructose globs of amniotic fluid pumped up on bovine growth chemicals and quasi-natural anti-caking agents. Through an enlarged scope that allows viewers to experience the imperceptible dilemma of our collective degrading existences, Nudd proclaims that the very essence of the human condition is fake. To boot, Plastic Blastula shows us the potential younger and earlier stages in the lives of the radioactive, self-aware mutants that Nudd is known for.

Paul Nudd has had solo shows in Berlin, Detroit, Portland, OR, Brooklyn, Kansas City, Raleigh, NC and in Chicago at the Hyde Park Art Center, Bodybuilder & Sportsmen, and Dogmatic. His work has been included in group shows in Dusseldorf, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Houston, Denver and was included in Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. His prodigious zine work can be found in several national artist book collections including the Museum of Modern Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Thomas J. Watson Library; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Newark Public Library; National Academy of Design, New York; Indiana University and School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Paul Nudd received his MFA from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 2001. He is represented by Western Exhibitions in Chicago and he lives in Berwyn, Illinois.