WRISTER, BLISTER, PLASTER is Sascha Braunig’s second solo exhibition at Foxy Production. Unraveling the figure in unexpected ways, her new series of oil and gouache portraits employ both Op art and baroque elements. The exhibition comprises highly patterned figures who appear interwoven with their environments, and hybrid beings whose bodies and their ornamentation seem indivisible.
Braunig’s geometric figures have a visual fluidity, as if their delicate skins can barely contain their bodies. Subject and background merge, creating ambiguity and optical tension. An alliance is forced between flat patterned designs and observed, mimetic representation.
The artist’s alien figures refract studio portraiture into hallucinatory scenes. Mixing angst, elegance, and humor, Braunig appropriates the techniques of historical portrait painting. The works’ ruffles, masks, hairstyles, and make-up push adornment into a parallel universe of body morphing and new life forms.
Wrist Painter – a Greenberg-era term for someone who makes non-expressionist, easel-paintings – depicts an artist holding a maulstick, an aid to steady the hand and prevent it touching a painting’s surface. In this work Braunig honors traditional painting’s attention to detail and its illusionistic tropes.
Prop, with its stalk holding up a horizontal figure’s head, is an ambivalent nod towards Dali. Maintaining a rigid, gravity-defying hairdo, the figure is held within an expanding series of diagonal lines. Like a chameleon, the figure takes on the same color and texture as its background, yet it remains in distinct relief from it.
Bossy Pins channels classical portraiture into unknown territory, catching an uncanny figure performing a stylized gesture. The subject’s head resembles a mix of brain and hair framed by ornate ruffles. The figure is bathed in green and red lights that luridly intensify the scene’s sense of theatricality and artifice.
Fister depicts a fur-coated figure with a brain-like head, an oddly rounded hairpiece, and hands tensed. For the artist, the exposed membrane alludes to the practice of trepanning, the drilling of a hole in the skull to relieve pressure or experience ecstasy. The painting relishes in its improbable yet thoroughly convincing contrasts between fantasy and the real.
Credits: Installation photography by Mark Woods.
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