Martin Basher | Hawaiian Tropic
Starkwhite is pleased to present Hawaiian Tropic by New York–based artist Martin Basher from 1 – 26 August 2017.
Basher debuts a new series of landscape-based paintings that make clear the formal genesis of the ultra-saturated, hard-edge abstractions for which he is best known. In four of these new works, photo-real paintings of beaches at sunset are rendered in a brooding monochrome before being tipped sideways, their now-vertical horizons becoming a ground for an overlay of abstract stripes. With the color leached from the actual beach imagery, highly pigmented stripes return the intensity of a sunburst, played out as flawless abstract gradients. The resulting images teeter – the tilted, vertiginous horizons anchored by the compositional logic of the banding on top. Shown in concert with three sunburst abstractions in the same hot orange-yellow palette, the seven paintings in the exhibition establish the clearest interplay yet between these two very different, but deeply intertwined threads in Basher’s practice.
New Zealand born Martin Basher received his BA (2003) and MFA (2008) from Columbia University, New York, where he lives and works.
Basher has exhibited widely internationally. Recent exhibitions include a solo presentation at the Armory Show New York 2017 (with Anat Ebgi Gallery), art fairs in Los Angeles, Milan, Sydney and Paris, a solo exhibition at the City Gallery of Wellington (2014), commissions for Auckland Art Gallery (2013), The Public Art Fund New York (2011) and Socrates Sculpture Park New York (2008).
Basher has been the recipient of the McCahon Residency in Auckland, New Zealand, The AAI residency in New York, and the Susan Goodman Residency in Berlin. His work is featured in numerous public and private collections including The Agnes Gund Collection New York, The Majuda Collection Montreal. The Chartwell Collection Auckland and James Wallace Collection Auckland.
Basher’s painting and sculptural work is situated in the lineage of display-based artistic practices. Working with the languages of retail and advertising, Basher explores the emotional charge of common objects and images. From his trademark paintings of gradated stripes and photo-real beaches to sculptural installations serving as displays for consumer goods, Basher activates spaces of sublimated psychological desire, at once familiar and strange for the altered retail scenarios they present. In these complex displays, Basher invokes unspoken drives, and the mundane and exclusive, the highbrow and lowbrow, and the public and private impulses that inform us as consuming individuals.