Greene Naftali is pleased to present the second New York solo exhibition by Michaela Meise, following her recent exhibition at the Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe. Meise is part of a younger generation of German artists engaging in abstraction as a handcrafted and poetic attempt to convey subjective experience. Her work has been included in a number of exhibitions that highlight this practice including Formalism: Modern Art Today curated by Michael Krebber at the Kunstverein Hamburg in 2004 and Of Mice and Men, the 4th Berlin Biennial in 2006. Meise’s work in particular draws on a tradition of abstract sculpture from Charlotte Posenenske to Ann Truitt, Roni Horn, the early work of Isa Genzken, or the reduced forms Richard Tuttle.
For this exhibition, Meise proposes a set of columns, evoking multiple references—from architecture and institutional structures, to minimalism, the environment, domesticity, and folk traditions. Using intuitive color combinations—green and ochre, rust and rose, copper, violet, tan and black—Meise stains her pillars with organic gouaches used on toys for Rudolf Steiner kindergarten classrooms. In the main space, Meise has choreographed a lyrical installation of her Trans columns, or cylindrical structures made of beechwood bases and pinewood rods. Meise’s Bündels, or groupings of wooden poles tied together with twine, stand quietly at different heights in the back room of the gallery.
A series of wall works rings the space, hung like informational plaques and suggesting a back-story to the sculptural installation. Highly finished red Plexiglas panels drilled into the walls with black screws display appropriated objects on their surfaces—advertisements, Starbuck’s questionnaires, sheets of a hotel notepad, a flattened tissue box, and book covers from biographies of women from Hanau (the artist’s hometown). Ideas of globalism, consumption, branding and seriality are found in these clippings and echoed in Meise’s sculptural forms.
With this new work, Meise continues to cast a foreign eye on her surroundings, presenting what constitutes a personal history or travel narrative. The artist’s careful attention to her materials displays a natural and thoughtful response to everyday realities, demonstrating abstraction’s potential as a distillation of our daily experience.
Michaela Meise lives and works in Berlin, Germany.