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.

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