Jana Euler at Real Fine Arts

Identity Forming Processes Overpainted (2012)


The German Brussels-based Jana Euler presents four new paintings developed over the last year in her eponymous, first American solo show at Real Fine Arts’ storefront. These new works strike a more personal, and immersive chord than her previous solo at Dependance, "Form Follows Information Exchange." The Dependance solo presented ecosystems of a common self caught in postmodern standards of emotion, figuring in as vignettes — press conferences, mating animals, sculpted bodies with screen posteriors, and office workers discussing themselves into bobble heads. While Euler's latest solo orients from this critical form, it coalesces as the maze that is female post-adolescence, paraphrased in space with sophisticated timing.

Incised onto the surface of a female figure, cramped into a question mark, nine eyes form a path across "The Body of the Exhibition." The stream of eyes rounding up the body are reminiscent of a jelly-bean path left to reflect on what was, amalgamated with the apparition of vinyl department store footprints directing us to a next weigh station. The body's primitivist-esque contorted limbs are apportioned by two lines standing in for the exhibition's two half-transparent screens, which bisect the space into four quadrants. Orienting the four paintings to be viewed in an individual progression, the two half-transparent walls manifest as a literal screen memory, bringing into physical fruition the kind of layers that conjoin between the liminal internal time zones etched into our psychic and corporeal selves. Wandering between the three paintings with the press release/facsimile of "The Body of the Exhibition" in hand is to be absorbed into a psychodrama, directed by the skeins of social and biological expectation.

Social Expectations Overpainted (2012)

The trio begins eyes closed with social expectations, winding into instincts, and ending on the open eyed identity forming process. Each is a closeup of a female face, painted over with semi-translucent allegorical and symbolic referents, and overlaid with an equally opaque harlequin pattern similar to a windowpane or wallpaper design. "Social Expectations Overpainted" is a low-down orgy of liquid symbolism. A supple blond slips into a dream-like ecstasy via a spigot gushing in the contents of an oddly colored, putrid oyster. Glasses of wine tip and toast. The architectural foundations of sinks and a cafe table anchor as near opponents: Late night debauchery or postmodern Frankfurt kitchens? Painted over a woman cooly smoking in "Instincts overpainted" two of every beast tear at their own kind, machinating a-near cannibalistic ritual. The animals' coloration and shading has a tattooed or scar-like quality, bringing to the surface the imprint of internal battles, wherein one desire, instinct or piece is devoured by a competing concern.

Eyes painted wide open, sight is no longer the sole domain of the voyeur traversing the exhibition's body in "Identity Forming Process Overpainted." Generic brushes bring the artist herself to the fore, enhancing the pinkness of her cheeks as overpainted anonymous faces, and stick figures performing in pop-up cube corners, smear traces of their own inhuman hue across her perfected complexion. In contrast to the two orally fixated visage, imbibing substance through the orifice of language, the final visage has crossed into a self-conscious subject-hood, acutely aware the promiscuous processes that interpolate people into images.

The Body of the Exhibition (2012)

Treating the image as a plane to retool and translate emotion into a melange of caricature and serious painterly inquest, the power of Euler's work lies in their physical presence. In this exhibition, Euler deftly culls self-involved experiences into screenshots that simultaneously embody the transition from female adolescence into womanhood, and the liquidity of living in a world governed by transient, re-shapable materials, be they digital, synthetic, organic or reprocessed at the same time.