Hernan Bas's expressionist and highly detailed figurative paintings are openly inspired by late-nineteenth-century decadent art and literature, as well as the concurrent symbolist and decorative style of the French group Les Nabis. While they are aesthetically grounded in the iconography of the male androgynous dandy, the young protagonists of his oneiric visions are usually portrayed alone or in small groups within descriptions of pure flânerie. Whether confined in the intimacy of a genre scene or lost in the vertigo of a dense, lush, romantic-like landscape, they inhabit a fantasised world of implicit eroticism and ambiguous sensuality. Always appearing as if suspended in time, between adolescence and adulthood, they embody the fragile in-between state that the artist refers to as 'fag limbo.' With a flamboyant palette and a refined touch, Hernan Bas overall masterly revisits and reinterprets all the categories of classical painting from a seemingly melancholic yet often humorous and witty, homoerotic perspective.
Text courtesy Perrotin.
When the Detroit-based artist Hernan Bas arrived at Jesus College, Cambridge, for a period of research in 2016, he didn't know what 'fresher' meant. The term, familiar to anyone who's been to a British university, is used to describe first-year undergraduates and hints at much of the bravado of student life.
Young men's heads bobbing in an ocean heavy with secrets painted on a folding screen. A flock of spoonbills flying by Stiltsville on a triptych. A sculpture of a dead flamingo, doubled over like a macabre midcentury modern table, chained to a metal ball. This is Hernan Bas' 'Florida Living.'
The early works of one of the great artistic talents to emerge from Miami in the past few years are the subject of a new solo exhibition at YoungArts, 'New Perfumes, Larger Blossoms, Pleasures Untasted: Hernan Bas and the Natural World.
Hernan Bas isn't sure if he's 33 or 34 years old. The painter has been too busy working to keep track of his birthday. Bas, who's made painting his livelihood for 10 years (a figure he does know), recently moved to Detroit from Miami to pursue what he calls a more 'hermetic' life, concentrating almost exclusively on his work.
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