Lehmann Maupin is pleased to present the first exhibition in Hong Kong of work by Hernan Bas. This show, entitled Case Studies, features new paintings by Bas, who is primarily known for his expressionistic and highly detailed figurative paintings, but also for his works in sculpture, film, photography and installation. The artist will be present for an opening reception on Tuesday, May 13 from 6 to 8PM.
Bas’s vibrant paintings depict lithe, androgynous males in the transitional period between youth and adulthood. Timid, awkward and insecure, these adolescent men are portrayed amidst dense, lush tropical landscapes. Several of the canvases are collaged with starfish and seashells, giving further texture and depth to the already expressionistic surface.
Bas’s references are far-reaching. He often weaves together stories of adolescent adventures and the paranormal with poetry, religious stories, kitsch attractions, mythology and literature. His varied influences also include classic horror films, comics, television, art history, the occult and fairy tales.
For the protagonist of each of the Case Studies paintings, Bas has created an individual narrative and has visualized the subject’s journey of personal discovery. Laced with sometimes dark, obsessive and compulsive traits, as well as traumatic or unusual childhood experiences, the narratives read as observations from a psychoanalyst’s notes. There is Baxter who is so fixated with mermaids and sea creatures that he has gills tattooed on the side of his neck; Kyle attempts to treat injured animals, despite not having a veterinary degree, to the point of trying to revive a dying beehive.
While elements of the characters’ stories hint at Bas’s own personal experiences, they are not self-portraits. With the inclusion of the narratives, Bas references the 1950s and 60s when homosexuality was diagnosed as a mental illness (similarly to hysteria being a common diagnosis for women in the 19th century), attempting to show the absurdity in these conclusions.
Born in 1978 in Miami, Florida, Hernan Bas currently divides his time between Miami, Florida and Detroit, Michigan, and has studios in both locations. Bas’s work has been exhibited in numerous solo exhibitions, including a major presentation at the Rubell Family Collection, Miami, in 2007, which traveled to the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2008, and a retrospective exhibition at the Kunstverein Hannover, Germany, in 2012. In 2013, Bas presented the multi-media installation, TIME, Hernan Bas: a queer and curious cabinet at the Bass Museum of Art, Miami. Bas has participated in a number of significant group exhibitions, including The Collectors, curated by Elmgreen & Dragset for the Nordic and Danish Pavilions at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009); Triumph of Painting: Part III, Saatchi Gallery, London (2005); Ideal Worlds—New Romanticism in Contemporary Art, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2005); and the 2004 Whitney Biennial. His work is part of the permanent collections of New York’s Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art; as well as the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others. In 2014, Rizzoli published a monograph on the artist, the most comprehensive book of his work to date.
Press release courtesy Lehmann Maupin.