fruity even, colours with electric tones crossfade to warm, dimmer lighting states, as sultrily seductive as those in a well-designed bar. With technical virtuosity Basher brings a unity of form to a duty free store-like mélange of elements. Distilling, juxtaposing and refining with a sophisticated eye.
“If I have a political position it’s that maybe these things can sit a bit more side by side,” Basher adds, citing the work of Haim Steinbach in cleaving a place for everyday objects in the artworld. “The things we surround ourselves with may look cheap but can have a profundity and are valued.”
This room for the spiritual in Basher’s work has also long been met by surreality and humour. Everything has potential power. In one setting people will see a beautiful painting with a bottle of cough medicine propped in front. In another the painting is a backdrop, providing ambience to the cough medicine.
Basher has increasingly added paint splattered and gaffer taped drop cloths and cardboard behind the objects: collages formed in the making of the work. A kind of after image, they counterpoint the very refined, meticulous slow making of the canvases that sit upon them. While the paintings are linked to the glaring, hard edged architecture of retail spaces, Basher sees the collages as the flip side, “he junk spaces behind the façade”.
Basher graduated with a masters in fine art from New York’s Columbia University in 2008. A stunning 2014 installation at City Gallery Wellington attested to the maturation of Basher’s work in the years since. Starkwhite has been showing his work since 2008.
“After we exhibited at The Armoury Show in New York in 2012, with great success,” comments Starkwhite director Dominic Feuchs, “collectors anticipated his exhibition in Auckland the following year. These works quickly sold out to important private and public collectors.”
2015 could be a breakout year for Basher, who will show at Starkwhite in February as well as holding first-time solo shows with Anat Ebgi in Los Angeles and Brand New Gallery in Milan. Basher will present with Starkwhite again at the Sydney Contemporary art fair in August.