Selected works by Michael Bauer

Michael Bauer
Pol 1 (Smart Estrus)

2005

Oil on canvas

140 x 120 cm

Reminiscent of the bizarre anthropomorphic portraits of 16th century painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Michael Bauer’s work creates figurative composites from abstraction and design. In Pol 1 (Smart Estrus), a male profile appears as a grotesque and distorted conglomeration of doodled elements. Grey and muddy forms entangle as abject viscera: lumpy scar tissue, withering penises, and slithery dead matter converge as psychological landscape, and forlorn memento mori. Framed by a decorative vignette, Bauer balances the obscene with the precious, creating a fragile seduction within his barbarous image. Subtitled Smart Estrus, Bauer’s painting suggests lurid plots of patriarchal power and noble lineage.

Michael Bauer
Pol 4 (Senor Mousse)

2005

Oil on canvas

140 x 120 cm

Michael Bauer offers deformity as a platform for unequivocal beauty. In Pol 4 (Senor Mousse), Bauer uses the qualities of abstract painting as a deviation of representational portraiture, allowing the media to replicate the characteristics of physical matter. Traces of recognisable features, such as eyes and hands give uneasy relation to celiac smears, scabby encrustations, and fluid brush marks, each rendered with a pristine delicacy. Offset by harlequin ornamentation and elegant touches of primavera colour, Bauer’s reductive palette creates an antiquarian reverence, setting his absurd conception as an icon of protracted contemplation.

Michael Bauer
L.O.R.D.S. 4000

2006

Oil on canvas

190 x 210 cm
Michael Bauer
L.O.R.D.S. 3000

2006

Oil on canvas

190 x 210 cm
Michael Bauer
Dixie Supreme

2005

Oil on canvas

150 x 130 cm
Michael Bauer
Bad Harvest

2008

Oil on canvas

160 x 130 cm
Michael Bauer
Freund 2 - English

2008

Oil on canvas

60 x 50 cms
Michael Bauer
Freund 1 - Deutsch

2008

Oil on canvas

60 x 50 cms

Articles

EXHIBITIONS PREVIEW: MICHAEL BAUER, LONDON
Saturday 14 February, 2009,by Jessica Lack,The Guardian

Slimy noses, rubbery lips, fleshy tentacles, and slicks of lurid colour: Michael Bauer's paintings have been likened to the anthropomorphic pictures of Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Except the 16th-century Italian painter famous for making portraits entirely out of vegetables didn't combine his weird caricatures with odd symbols and shapes. If someone had set out to visualise the history of painting in one Rorschach-like blot, this would be it, as the Renaissance rubs up against a patina of harlequin colours. Yet this suggests Bauer's paintings are bright, which they are not. The images emerge dripping from the depths of a murky canvas, the backgrounds of which are a mixture of cloggy sepias, iron greys and grubby magnolias. The results are utterly unnerving, suggesting that these contemporary paintings are as old as the dirt on the walls.

Source: Guardian.co.uk


MICHAEL BAUER: ANTHEM
2009, by Kunsthaus Baselland

“Anthem” is the first institutional exhibition of Michael Bauer (born 1973 in Erkelenz/DE, lives and works in Cologne) in Switzerland. With the title, the artist already suggests that music has a great influence on his paintings, sculptures
and drawings.
At first glance Michael Bauer’s works give the impression of stemming from imaginary worlds where phantasms, psychedelic elements and various moods meet and merge into temporary form. His compositions often look as though some of the ramifications might have taken another route; there is so much movement inherent in the works that the next move is already palpable. Graphic or geometric forms, circles and framing elements appear on mud-coloured ground with condensed areas and isolated swashes. Recognisable elements often appear within the overall composition. An eye here, or even a face, a hat there, a shower head discharging colours, testicles and penises, suggested harlequins, cigarettes, pipes and, repeatedly, table-tennis bats or lines that might have been taken from the green surface of a ping-pong table. When asked about the sexual parts in his paintings, one of the answers Bauer gives is: “I believe that the phalluses (…) are rather sad attachments, robbed of their original function. Like a last sad wave of virility” (Die Figur ist Legion, MB in an interview with Stefanie Popp, cat. Borwasser, JRP/Ringier, Zurich, 2008).
Like teasers, individual shapes attract the viewer’s eye and immediately direct it to the muddy or shady mêlée of grey-brown areas, where it would get lost but for the geometric, clearly structured elements. Chessboard-like figurations, striped bars or frames reminiscent of patterned borders, frame the paintings on the top and bottom and/or both sides. They interrupt the imaginary roaming and lead the viewer back to the here and now. Michael Bauer compares his paintings with movie trailers: “The thing that the mind does when it fills in the blanks of a film that one only knows fragments of. (…) This teasing can very well be used in painting. Attractants, red herrings, a false sense of security.” (Die Figur ist Legion, op.cit.).
Bauer uses plinths in a way that this stop-mode also works for his sculptures to prevent anyone from getting too close in reality or in their imagination: “DJ Penize, for instance, consists of three plinths. The first carries the figure, the figure is the plinth for the ballpoint pen, and the latter is the plinth for the contact data of my tax advisor” (Die Figur ist Legion, op.cit.). Bauer’s sculptures intrigue by their mix of materials, with a rough wooden or cardboard plinth, glass tiles and isolated everyday objects such as nicotine patches, rice cakes, pills cast in resin or said ballpoint pen. Like in his paintings, the artist often welds together abstract compositions with very literal objective components. Here, too, he plays with the relationship of closeness and distance between work and viewer.
Together with Robert Kraiss and Florian Gass, Michael Bauer constitutes the Ylmaz House Band, whose music fellow artist Stefanie Popp describes as the “billowing sensation of the bloodstream in your veins, or, perhaps, digestive peristalsis.” The singing she defines as coming “from very deep down inside. (…) Like the unconscious turned into sound. Or the freely flowing inner pulp,” (op. cit.) and thus cleverly hits the point where music and visuals meet.
“With their irrepressible lack of rationale, Bauer’s paintings, drawings and sculptures keep telling us: you cannot rehearse a painting or an emotional reaction, and you cannot expect that the materials or your imagination will always do your bidding. A painting never is and never was an explanation — and it will always want to conceal as much as it reveals.” (Begin Again, Jennifer Higgie, cat. Borwasser, op. cit.)

Source: artnews.org