John Bauer

Black Flag

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John Bauer
Black Flag
2007
Oil and enamel on linen
238.8 x 375.9 cm (diptych)

Taking its title from the punk band Black Flag – whose graphics were designed by contemporary artist Raymond Pettibone – Bauer’s painting draws association to a subcultural mythology that merges the dark aesthetics of the 70s hardcore scene with the numbing allure of pop. Executed with a limited palette of gloss and matte blacks and metallic silvers, Bauer’s paintings possess an imposing elegance, their flat decal-like surfaces are coded within the glamour of industrial design and the holographic sheen of futurism. Through Bauer’s densely overlapped patterns, translucent layers, and emotive distance, the impersonal characteristics of digitized imagery and his detached processes of working gain a unique subjectivity infusing the seamless and generic with a contemplative aura of personal negotiation. Made in 2007, Black Flag’s apocalyptic composition contains a ghostly shape of the US map, evoking revolutionary protest against the Bush regime; its degraded print-media references expanding beyond Warhol’s Disasters to a new mesmerizingly chilling plateau.


     
 


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