Richard Telles presents new monochromic wall sculptures by Michaela Meise\, her second solo exhibition with the g allery. Known for her sculptures\, appropriated imagery\, and videos\, whos e sources glean from art history\, design\, film\, and pop-culture\, Meise marks a shift by solely employing ceramics: while these works are indebted to her ongoing fascination with 18th and 19th century sculpture and archeol ogical history\, she has pared away her post-minimalist forms and quasi-aca demic presentations\, retaining only the monochromatic skin of the former. What remains are modestly scaled monochrome portraits with abstract element s\, distilled syntheses of her diverse interests.

The sculptures depict concave faces surrounded by what initially appear to be convex abstract forms. No detail is to be foun d except for the gender and age of the expressionless portraits. Before wor king on each one\, Meise simply decided if the face was to be male\, female \, or child—basic units of conventional representation (which often overloo ks the in between)—using only her imagination to mold them.  By making the faces concave\, Meise precluded herself from conveying any naturalistic fea tures\, veering them into the grotesque or vaguely humanoid.  Meise’s attra ction to the corporeality of clay is partially influenced by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (d.1875) and Jean-Antoine Houdon (d.1828)\, both subjects of previ ous works\, who often sketched with the soft-earthen material\, later refin ing them in marble. These artists inspired Meise\, paradoxically\, by their abilities to capture diverse degrees of human expression\, but it was the inherent immediacy of clay that was key—and when fired\, remains quite dura ble\; archeological finds of ceramics attest to this. Meise takes further c ues from Japanese ceramics as well\, whose heterogeneous glazes crack\, rup ture\, and crystallize under fire\, reinforcing the affect of aged\, primit ive artifacts.

Bearing i n mind the titles\, “Money Faces”\, another dimension is revealed: the abst ract\, convex forms that surround the faces become representations of curre ncy\, recalling Monika Baer’s series of paintings of sliced sausages doubli ng as coins. Yet Meise’s currency insists itself as a floating cipher due t o its blankness—and while in the space of portraiture\, upholds the blankne ss of both. The common signifiers of bodies and currency\, as well as their mode of circulation\, are then brought into question\, which raises a larg er issue within the realm of biopolitics where a person’s character or biog raphy is a currency itself within culture. Yet the faces here are expressio nless\, suggesting that those with no decipherable character inherently hav e a value too. However\, when everything is rendered without distinctness\, such notions of value become meaningless.  Akin to past work\, Meise thus blurs bodies and products\, assigned values and inherent ones. We are asked to project upon these works\, armed with what we know\, disarmed by what w e don’t\, as if they were artifacts culled from an archeological trench. We are imbued with a forward-lurching motion into a void\, as opposed to bein g repelled by the imperviousness of minimalism. Even the monochrome vestige s of it in these new works have cracks and faults. Meise has always corrode d the minimalist veneer by revealing the organic variances underneath. Her past applications of watercolor to wood is a case in point\, where the grai n is heightened rather than suppressed. The wall sculptures remain within t his tenor while being remarkably direct\, neither relying on timely abstrac t languages\, or the photographic. Meise has located a new water vein in be tween\, fitting for a body of work that already totters between a multititu de of points.
Michaela Meise has exhibite d internationally. Recent solo exhibitions were held at Meyer Kainer\, Vien na in 2012\, and at Grazer Kunstverein\, Austria\, and Bonner Kunstverein ( with Annette Kelm)\, Germany in 2011. Other solo exhibitions were held at J ohann Koenig\, Berlin in 2010 and Greene Naftali\, New York in 2009.  Meise has also been included in many group exhibitions\, which include Kunstvere in\, Cologne in 2012\, Gladstone Gallery\, New York\, and CSS Bard Hessel M useum\, Annanadale-on-Hudson\, NY\, both in 2010 and Hamburger Bahnhof\, Be rlin in 2009. Meise lives and works in Berlin.

DTEND:20130309 DTSTAMP:20141025T122451 DTSTART:20130202 GEO:34.075883;-118.350767 LOCATION:Richard Telles Fine Art\,7380 Beverly Boulevard \nLos Angeles\, CA 90036 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Money Faces\, Michaela Meise UID:257333 END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTEND:20130202T190000 DTSTAMP:20141025T122451 DTSTART:20130202T170000 GEO:34.075883;-118.350767 LOCATION:Richard Telles Fine Art\,7380 Beverly Boulevard \nLos Angeles\, CA 90036 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Money Faces\, Michaela Meise UID:257334 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR