Within Bauer’s paintings, images of abstraction are subjected to different processes of abstract painting. Gestures are photographed and silk screened. Marks are duplicated in different scales within the same painting. Paint is rolled, stencilled, and sprayed. Imagery cancels, deletes, shifts and over-writes itself. Through an analytical painting process that is methodical and immediate, removed and direct, John Bauer remixes the spontaneous act and the programmed decision.
Through essentially anti-expressionistic means, the work constructs denials and assaults on picture making in an attempt to redirect the viewer, if just for a second.
The title of the exhibition, Sleight of hand, affects a double meaning. Traditionally, sleight of hand refers to a type of illusion where the skills of a magician produce visual tricks so quickly that the manner of execution is unobservable. In painting, the hand imbues the artwork with the authentic presence of the artist, or aura.
John Bauer is not interested in the idea of an artist as a type of magician, but rather in painting which shifts the nature of expression.