Continuing and Recommended: John Bauer
By Liz Goldner
While John Bauer’s canvasses, as large as 90 x 102 inches, contain hints of abstract expressionism, his creative process marries digital manipulation with traditional stenciling, spraying, rolling, brushing and printing, much of the hand work influenced by German post-war painting. Many of the pieces in this “Black and Blue” series begin as a drawing on canvas. He then photographs the work, manipulates it in several layers in the computer, and finally, returning to the work-in progress on linen, paints it with oil and enamel. While this laborious process is not readily apparent to the viewer, the results are two-dimensional pieces that look three-dimensional, and sometimes even four-dimensional, the latter evoking outer space or what Bauer calls a “vampiric” effect. This is achieved in part by the enamel paint’s reflection of ambient light. The artist works in a palette of bright blue, black, silver, white and, in one canvas, magenta. Forms are abstract, gestural and grid-like. These hybrid paintings dialogue with each other, with a few recalling the luminescent atmosphere of the artist/surfer’s beloved Pacific Ocean. This is particularly evident in three blue-themed works, “Blue Velvet”, “Angel of Light”, and “Afterimage of angel of Light.” By combining a variety of processes and media, and alluding to historical cultural influences, Bauer creates original and provocative works (Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Hollywood).