Monika Baer
The Inside Out

Gallery Openings—15 Sep 2023, 6 to 9 PM

The Inside Out comprises works painted over the last two years, which continue Baer’s more than three-decade engagement with the paradoxes and possibilities of painting.

In the seven paintings on view, the audience is faced with the topic of walls. In three works, a coat is stashed away in a niche. Both hidden and displayed, the coat is partially draped over the ledge, revealing its seams and lining. The walls below show fragments of mosaics—depictions and patterns that can be found in Naples, Munich and Basel. The other four paintings also take up the topic of surface and decor. Brick walls are depicted, displaying reliefs of animals—a crocodile, crab, snake and fish. The motifs are taken from the exterior walls of the Berlin Zoo, designed by Heinrich Harder in 1912.

Monika Baer at Barbara Weiss

Monika Baer, Untitled, 2023, oil on canvas, 105 x 180 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin, Photo: Jens Ziehe

Monika Baer at Galerie Barbara Weiss

Monika Baer, Graph, 2022, oil on canvas, 190 x 150 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin, Photo: Jens Ziehe

The title of the exhibition, The Inside Out, offers multiple readings. The viewer is faced with a layering of surfaces, from the painted wall, to its decoration, back to the painting itself. Despite seeming to be set outdoors, the shallow pictorial space insists on the painterly activity within the rectangle, rather than pointing to any solution leading away from or beyond it. As the title implies, the paintings are brought to the threshold between exposure and containment. In depicting reliefs and mosaics, oil painting doubles as other techniques of treating or adorning a surface and uses them as stand-ins for itself. Constructed from an array of smaller pieces, the mosaic and the brick wall interrupt the illusion of wholeness and further emphasize the dense physicality of these paintings.