Rebecca Michaelis has clearly made two-dimensionality her choice, yet she works with spatial relationships in her purely abstract paintings. She layers pattern over pattern, into which the viewer’s eyes penetrate ever more deeply in an attempt to reconstruct their evolution. At the same time, the viewer tries to get at them with logic, to analyze the system of geometrical structures and color relationships – for which there are, however, no rules, since Michaelis regularly incorporates intentional errors. The zigzag construction, the all-over diamond pattern, the overlapping circles have been applied both intuitively and with precision. The artist also employs an array of techniques with varying haptic qualities: Here the underdrawing is clearly visible, becoming a through line; there it is heavily painted over; here the structure of rough brushstrokes is legible; there the surface is smoothly sealed. Intellectual and sensory pleasure combine in Michaelis’s images, as her titles make clear. These utterly erratic descriptors, which come from the artist’s reading, open up an associative space that no meaning can possibly fill. In her painting, Michaelis confidently takes up the legacy of modernism, of classical abstract art, and actually finds a new way of formulating it, developing a brightly colored new version of the Neo-Geo painting of the 1980s that is both rational and anarchic at the same time.

Selected Artist 2009: Rebecca Michaelis, Nicola Kuhn english version | 2013 | Texts (E) | Comments (0)