Thursday, August 11, 2011

Antje Majewski; At Neugeriemschneiderberlin, June 10- august 13, 2011, Linien strasse 155, 10115 Berlin. DE, by craniv boyd.

Antje Majewski:

the guardian of all things that are the case, among others:

a clay teapot in the form of a human hand

a shell

a pot made of fragrant wood,

contains one black ball or two glass eyes

a buddha's hand citron

a hedge apple, also called osage orange


At Neugeriemschneiderberlin, June 10- august 13, 2011, Linien strasse 155, 10115 Berlin. DE, by craniv boyd.


For larger format, vertically oriented, rectangular naturalistic paintings, of handsome men, and beautiful women, that are painted with spare, thin usage of paint, look to Linien Street in center city Berlin, for Antje Majewski's one-person exhibition at Neugeriemschneider.


The list of things that preface this, my exhibition report, is the title of both paintings shown in the gallery and singular instances of the oeuvre of German Born, artist Antje Majewski. For resisting the dominant post war painting norm of the Bundesrepublik, that of, testosterone saturated expressionism in painting. Majewski deserves kudos for her bravery in working with pigment suspended in oil, on Belgian linen, in a method so far against the German grain, for celebrated art.


Nevertheless there is little breath of life to be found in these capable paintings, the sitters for the portraits are rendered with dignified accuracy that is just if not more unemotive than a 16 century Dutch still life. I take that back the undemonstrative neutral facial expressions of the portrayed people in under a dozen paintings shown at Neugeriemschneider, are so bland and stiff lending more joy of life to the objects, and things that accompany them in the diligently painted artworks. There is little to be found in the sensuality of these representations of attractive people that look vaguely young and creative, old master paintings, from the Netherlands, of ripening fruit, or the goods from the fishmonger begin to look far the more sexy when brought against Majewski's paintings.


Barefoot woman clothed in white wearing leggings doing some kind of advanced yoga position or another on a carpet with a large shaped thing, placed on her midsection. A seated thin cleanshaven man, red curly hair cut above the shoulders, with folded arms and crossed legs, looks rheumy eyed, out from a room that appears as if, it is, a spread in Interior decorators weekly or Architectural Digest, or some such trade publication for the interior architect or interior decorator.  A woman with raven black hair cut in a bob, wears ethnic clothing, and one has the impression that much more care, and emphasis has been placed on what the people are wearing, what kind of a space they populate and what things are around them, than how the painting it self is painted.


The paintings could be understood as a kind of seamless collage. One young isolated adult after another is presented in a living or leisure space codified as, luxury creative. All objects in the paintings are both mysteriously symbolic. The superficial and flat egalitarian treatment of the objects in the picture plane, via means of thin paint, that looks far too dry, does not contribute a flare for drama. The images are of course staged for the exhibition public and the art collectors, or public collections, supportive of this kind of artwork, Spartan naturalism a tad south of horror vaucii, however the paints are applied methodically and with out flourish, and despite largeness and ambition of format, the overall sensibility the paintings offer is not one strange to more portable and prevalent fashion magazine æsthetics. by craniv boyd.  

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