Bauer’s meticulously rendered canvases conceive painting as paradox; both in terms of traditional consideration and approach to abstraction, and in the way visual information is duplicitously transacted. Working with an intricate combination of silkscreen, stencil and spray paint techniques, Bauer develops his fragmented compositions from computer rendered ‘sketches’; their austere oil and enamel surfaces mirroring the pristine distancing of digitised media. Limited to a palette of black and silver Bauer’s works pose as reductive articulations freeze-framing allusions to urban architecture, futuristic landscapes, or corroded circuitry with the gritty glamour of photography. From this technologically orientated reference base, Bauer’s paintings contrive a unique aesthetic, tempering contemporary concepts of the sublime with the contemplative solitude of Abstract Expressionism.
Equally redolent of Pollock’s entangled gestures and Warhol’s numbing prints, Bauer’s paintings simultaneously embrace artistic authenticity and consumerised decadence. Executed with a fusion of matte, high gloss, and metallic media, his consciously flat surfaces convey a rare sensitivity to illusory space. Consistently set against the standard chequered motif of Photoshop background, his densely compacted layers battle for perspectival hierarchy as inky pixellated patches, tarry drizzles, solarised panels, and spontaneous graffiti scribbles mingle with cacophonous tension. Though Bauer’s process is ‘hands off’ his works approach mark-making with the mimetic suggestion of raw physicality: His translucent veneers and diffused application replicate light, hard-edged shard motifs encapsulate speed, and smudgy newsprint hues promise something utterly sensational and smutty. Through this feint simulation, Bauer frames painting as pure virtuality, infinitely and chillingly seductive.
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