Artist: Michaela Eichwald
Venue: Reena Spaulings, New York
Exhibition Title: Frank
Date: March 26 – April 30, 2017
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Reena Spaulings, New York. Photos by Joerg Lohse.
For her fourth exhibition at the gallery, Michaela Eichwald continues to work across horizontal and sometimes vertical lengths of materials such as faux ostrich hide and Pleather that comes factory-printed with trompe l’oeil texture and detailing. Painting with oil, varnish, wood stain and other materials, the artist, who grew up in a village outside of Cologne and now lives in Wedding, Berlin, pushes into an alchemical zone that generates strangely reactive complexions and sticky wound-like surfaces that seem to never dry. These are works that invite a confusion between looking and reading in the way their gestures scroll left to right and back again, as if testing a new symbolic language, encrypting or decrypting legibilities in the midst of abstraction. Some paintings (Grosse Unbekannte mit zwei Hausgeisternare [Great Unknown with Two House Ghosts], 2017) are on the verge of hallucinating bodies or (Kleine Notgemeinschaft [Small Emergency Community], 2017) body parts, others (Saufen Weinen Wiederkaeuen [Boozing Weeping Rehashing] and Niet Niss Niss Nit, both 2017) are like slime trails marking a trajectory through a weird mental space that also happens to be located here in this world. Painted over readymade blue stripes, Frank und Pflaumi haben einen Traum [Frank and Plfaumi have a dream], 2017 (a collaboration between Eichwald and Max Schmidtlein), is loosely based on a wartime banknote.
The exhibition, aka Frank, seems to swing between awful moments of paralyzing angst and very light moments that stay funny and free. Meanwhile, all the stuff we could say comes from a certain Rhinelandish or an even rougher, heavier Westfalian history – the questions of good and bad kinds of work and of painting beside itself and within networks, the bad painting, committed poorness, honest lying in the face of guilt, a certain relation to white maleness and patriarchal hysteria, etc, etc – has been in transit for some time now, passing through the international Bohemia of post-internet Berlin and other socio-cultural intestines, before landing here in Trumptown. Frank is also how the works show up, finally, not entirely convinced of the need to travel but nonetheless having worked hard at getting from there to here. Everything is about the commitment to decisions we may not fully understand… and the painting this makes possible.
Michaela Eichwald’s previous exhibitions include: The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World at MoMA, Painting 2.0 at Museum Brandhorst, the Rennes Biennial, Absolution at Siberkuppe, quo vadis gnothi sauton and cui bono at Overduin & Co, Bamberger Kondition at Internationalen Künstlerhaus Villa Concordia in Bamberg. Upcoming shows include a group exhibition at Ludlow 38 and Aftermieter at Haus Mödrath – Räume für Kunst.