LECTURE: Hernan Bas THIS Thursday, Nov. 5th at 630pm. Meyerson Hall, B-3


Artist Lecture this Thurs, Nov 5th, 2009 at 6:30PM

Room B3 - Meyerson Hall
210 S. 34th St. Philadelphia, PA


From Hernan Bas at Daniel Reich Gallery By Dan Tranberg...
"Twenty-four-year-old Miami-based artist Hernan Bas is one of a growing number of emerging artists who makes figurative paintings a la Henry Darger, working in an awkward painterly style that blatantly favors psychologically rich narratives over technical mastery. But unlike his stylistic counterparts (Elizabeth Peyton, for instance) Bas delves into a highly charged social landscape, one occupied over the past decade or two by writers such as Dennis Cooper and filmmakers such as Gregg Araki. Bas himself cites earlier references: Oscar Wilde and French novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans. Either way, he uses his work to wrestle with a seemingly unavoidable queer pedigree.

His recent solo show at Daniel Reich Gallery, Sometimes with One I Love, offered a dozen recent works in which slender teenaged boys hover in a state between connection to and alienation from their environments. Fitting In, a 31 x 24-inch painting on wood panel, was a clear standout. A solitary figure stands in a shallow pool of water, mimicking the pose of a flamingo while a large group of the flamboyant pink birds carry on without noticing him. As with many of Bas' works, the boy's surroundings can be seen as a stand-in for a conventional social network, one with which the boy may want to blend, but obviously can't. Right Place Wrong Time uses a similar strategy; a boy shows up at a secluded rocky beach, only to be left alone standing in the rain, holding a red umbrella.

Such a sense of alienation and frustration is in many ways glamorized by Bas. Confused and depressed as his characters often seem, they also imply a certain cool detachment from the increasingly mainstream world of gay assimilation. In this sense, Bas revels in the psychological ambiguity that arises from not belonging to the relatively new world of gay normalcy."

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