Put On More Layers!

Markus Saile, a former HBK Braunschweig student who now lives in Cologne has come to Berlin for his first solo show in a gallery. Finding its temporary home in RECEPTION, “Schichtwechsel” (translated as “shift change”) is the selected title for this solo exhibit. “Schichtwechsel” more commonly refers to workers who are relieved by other workers at the end of their shift – conjuring images of dreary, gray workspaces and machinery. Luckily, Saile’s show is nothing like that!
Instead, Saile’s collection of paintings on canvases and wooden panels chooses to take on the other meaning of “Schicht”, which means a layer or coating. Like an obsession, or compulsion, creating paintings that solely consist of layer upon layer of paint is Saile’s adopted form of artistic expression. In most of his paintings, there are no concrete objects or even a center. The result is not preconceived and maybe not even intentional – painting becomes a process that unfolds as the paint brush hits the canvas and while the latest layer dries or trickles down. 
Layers aren’t just for clothing…
Walking around the exhibit, what initially appeals to me is the varying sizes of the artwork; some of the pieces are quite tiny and from afar appear nearly uniform in color, though upon closer look the layers of paint may be enough for a painting five times its size! By varying the size of the painting, Saile intrigues the viewer – who is encouraged to approach the painting closely in order to really take in and appreciate the miniscule details. 
Saile’s use of wooden panels as a surface to paint on also adds another nearly hidden layer to the artwork. If you look closer, you’ll notice the lines of the symmetrical boards of wood joined together – a foundational layering beneath the multiple coatings of paint.

Markus Saile - "untitled" 2011
Fancy some green tea? Markus Saile “untitled” 2011, RECEPTION, Courtesy RECEPTION, Berlin

Did someone spill their coffee?!
One canvas that really grabs my attention in particular reminds me of a childhood school project where I had to stain paper with tea and coffee in order to make it look old. While it looks like the artist may have accidently spilled various strains of tea over his artwork, in reality, he creates these effects  through a more sophisticated technique of adding and taking away layers of paint. What results is constructed shapes and patterns through varying consistencies of color… the brush strokes and layering effects make for sweeping images. 
RECEPTION provides a nice background space for the exhibit – the dark green linoleum floor and the window adorned with ivy and vines really accentuates the deep green, purple, blue and mossy hues that are layered onto the canvas. At the very beginning of Kurfürstenstrasse – and hidden away from the chaos of the street – RECEPTION reminds of outdoor serenity. Saile’s artwork does the same. Not overbearing or overwhelming at all, viewing these layering paintings makes for a nice, relaxing Saturday afternoon. 
  • RECEPTION Markus Saile – “Schichtwechsel” March 10th – April 14th, 2012 Thurs -Sat: 11am-6pm