Cheryl Humphreys & Mike McMullen: Close Crush
8200 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles CA 90046
Thursday, June 6 at 6:00 PM 9:00 PM
Ends Sep 3, 2024
June 6th to September 3rd Opening night - June 6th - 6-9PM Tappan is pleased to present Close Crush, a two-person exhibition by Cheryl Humphreys and Mike McMullen.  Close Crush refers to the unseen moment when the inked plate meets paper: the printmaker’s magic of positioning these two elements under pressure, calibrated just so, to create something new. Read another way, Close Crush may indicate nearness and adoration, pointing to the early, swooning stage in Humphreys and McMullen’s relationship that ultimately landed them married with a child. Through the double meaning of Close Crush, the artists also signal a desire to transmit intimate moments of life via image and material.  Humphreys’ latest series is Romantic Gestures, a collection of mono-prints at large and small scale, printed in two to three colors. Her method involves arranging pieces of collected dryer lint, embracing the way it naturally falls apart and lands on the inked plate, and becomes reanimated through the press. In so doing, she steers her practice to a freer, chance operation: the compositions are confetti-like, with forms dancing down the page to evoke strewn flower petals. Closer inspection reveals the contour of stray hairs, dust and fingernail clippings encapsulated in her arrangements, evincing the “dirty work” that is doing the family’s laundry. Through her continued impulse to examine and ritualize repetitive domestic work, she transforms an act of service into a suspended moment of beauty.   In another series titled for the days of the week, Humphreys works with kitchen sponges, soaking them in vats of dye and pressing them down upon embossed paper to create an image that is scaled one-to-one with its source. Her clear-eyed examination of the porous monochrome serves to elevate the material traces of homemaking, perhaps with a bit of humor.  Where Humphreys uses household material to explore abstraction, McMullen examines found imagery. In his black and white series titled Cosmic Distances, McMullen places two images side-by-side–a galaxy beside a bush of roses; an eclipse paired with a sunflower. Using a photo intaglio method, he scales the infinite expanse precisely to a bouquet at hand. He lifts these pictures from decades-old magazines and books in which they were perhaps used to illustrate man’s quest to understand nature or the unknown – an attitude he carries forward while also exalting the archaic nature of their original printing. McMullen’s exploration of this imagery began during a state of grief and love having lost his father shortly before Humphreys gave birth to their son Cy. This contrast between beginnings and endings, the weight of patrescence plus the artist’s reckoning with how these events felt cosmically linked, ripples through the work.  With Flowers from Memory, seven paint stick monotypes, McMullen punctuates this show with an expressive flourish, perhaps as an ode to Cheryl, his wife and collaborator. The prints feature scrawling marks drawn with sensitivity and urgency that denote pistons, petals, and stems in carnation pink, violet iris or daffodil yellow. There is a frenzied romance to these, a desire to nail down an image before the kid wakes up, before the paintstick dries, before the studio time runs out. Drawing flowers from memory is maybe one way to cope with the Close Crush of a chore list, to embrace beauty and chance despite many to-do’s and alongside the realization that our time here is fleeting.    For additional information, please contact Blaise Petrullo, Gallery Sales Associate at For press inquires, please contact Heather Bardocz, Director of Marketing & Communications at
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