Martin Basher: Untitled
We are pleased to open our 2019 season with a one-week, untitled project show by Martin Basher from 24 January – 2 February, 2019. The project inaugurates a new short-run exhibition format that will periodically feature in the gallery schedule, providing artists with shorter exhibition periods for experimental projects and smaller presentations.
Featuring five new oil paintings and three collages on cardboard from Basher’s ongoing abstract stripe/fade series, the show introduces a vibrant new palette as well as a new display device where paintings are shown on aluminum stands. The stands continue Basher’s longstanding interest in the formal possibilities of commercial and retail display devices, and in this project the stands let Basher treat his paintings as spatially dynamic and somewhat sculptural; as objects a viewer has to walk in and around these works, as opposed to them merely being images on a wall.
While the works themselves hew to the explicitly abstract formal logic of vertical striping Basher has used for several years now, there is potential that they might also be interpreted with a certain social content. With their hot orange and pink gradients there is a suggestion of sunset or dawn, of hot temperatures, and perhaps a nod to the climate change politics Basher has become increasingly concerned with in recent years. Further, work made in the United States over the 2018-2019 winter is inevitably inflected with the politics of government shutdowns, with the crude rhetoric of twitter postings and ugly nativist proclamations; for New York-based Basher it might not be a stretch to read a trace or contour of ‘beautiful barriers’ in the vertical striping of the paintings, and more explicitly so in the collages, where rigid geometry gives way to skewed angels and fugitive materiality, the suggestion of decay, collapse and failure.
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), group exhibitions in London, Los Angeles and New York, 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 The La Brea Residency in Los Angeles, 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.