Birgit Megerle’s Soft Skills at Galerie Neu
March 24, 2009
Entitled Soft Skills, Birgit Megerle’s exhibition at Galerie Neu in Berlin presents her most recent suite of paintings. Megerle’s past exhibition in 2007 at Daniel Reich Gallery in New York laid the groundwork for using the gallery’s physical space to make painting theatrical. At Galerie Neu, she extends this line of thinking, showing how ideas are transposed between painting, music and literature.
A flaneur smokes his pipe, caught in a stroll, he glanzes sideways towards the viewer. His riding boots gleam in a gentle light, just like the locks of his straight brown hair. He’s haughty and a bit sly. His life-size counterpart faces him from the side of the space. Hidden behind her dark jumper and polka dot sleeves, she may be as deceitful as she is demure. Told by the canvas laying face up on the gallery floor, something nefarious has transpired - a murder for reasons still unknown. One sees a figure—a boy with fair skin wearing blue jeans—laying limp and lifeless across a rectangular abstraction. Its palette of faded sage, turquoise, and olive greens make for eccentric tiling. As romantic as it is criminal, Megerle’s paintings ask that one imagine what series of events has led to this point. These figures are further characterized by a number of abstract geometric works. Their patterns and texture emulate architectural reliefs or patterned fabric and arguably are the strongest works in giving the exhibition its calculated aesthetic. While the size of the works are quite different, they each still impart a feeling of a small vignette that comprises the a larger, but just as abstract narrative. Trying to create linearity is futile, as anything that gets pieced together is just as easily rehashed into another story. What does create continuity is the specific piano soundtrack Megerle created. The track is synonymous with the sensual aesthetic of the work; no matter in what medium Megerle works, there is nuance and deliberation.