Trained in literature and philosophy, Berlin-based artist and writer Michaela Eichwald (Germany, b. 1967) works predominantly as a painter. This exhibition, the artist’s first US solo museum presentation, brings together painting, sculpture, and collage from across the past 10 years of her practice.
Bridging abstraction and figuration, Eichwald’s densely layered paintings refuse to easily subscribe to a particular style or historical movement. Their extraordinary surfaces—printed canvas or imitation leather—bear an alchemical combination of acrylic, oil, tempera, spray paint, mordant, graphite, varnish, and lacquer. Whether in large- or small-scale formats, her works combine smooth paint strokes and quick smudges, from which occasionally emerge figurative forms and snippets of text. While gestural and rough mark-making might recall postwar painting styles such as Tachisme, Neo-Expressionism, or Japanese Gutai, her paintings resist simple reference to a particular time or lineage, instead amalgamating and churning through the history of painterly styles and techniques.
To create her sculptures, Eichwald pours resin into bags, rubber gloves, and plastic bottles, in which she captures uncommon and dissonant materials, such as chicken bones, erasers, jewelry, chalk, mushrooms, fishing tackle, needles, potato sprouts, candy, small drawings, and hardboiled eggs. At once repulsive and alluring, grotesque and seductive, the resultant artworks are somewhere between trophies, tchotchkes, and time capsules, suggestive of pieces of amber or digesting stomachs. Filled with humor and wit, Eichwald’s works draw on references to theology, philosophy, and art history as well as her immediate surroundings, everyday thinking, reading, life, and friends.
Curators: Pavel Pyś, curator, Visual Arts