Ongoing since 2012, the Real DMZ Project interrogates the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea through annual, research-based exhibitions that bring together the works of Korean and international artists. Sunjung Kim, the independent curator behind the project, conceived the idea of exploring the DMZ while curating Japanese artist...
The fifth edition of Sydney Contemporary will take place once again at Carriageworks between 12 and 15 September 2019, with Spring 1883 bringing together a cohort of 27 galleries from across Australia and the region to inhabit rooms at the Establishment Hotel from 11 to 14 September 2019, uniquely presenting contemporary works propped up on...
Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...
Donald Baechler made his name in New York in the 1980s showing his work at the legendary Tony Shafrazi Gallery with a group of artists that included Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat. He is known predominantly for his intensely reworked graphical work and paintings which return frequently to a group of motifs and characters: ice-cream cones, thumbs-up, Disney-esque fawns, as well as more clichéd images from art history-flowers, skulls and globes. Executed in the ancient medium of Gesso, flashe paint on canvas or paper collage, Baechlers' are multi-layered works which speak volumes about the painterly process itself.
Baechler has often referred to himself as collector, of imagery and references-biographical, art historical, visual ephemera-forming a rich archive in his work over the years. His influences are wide-ranging from Giotto to the abstract expressionists to American folk art and Cy Twombly.
While some of his iconography is recognisably from the world of childhood, and could be said to have a deceptive simplicity, his work, and in particular his approach to his work, is infinitely more complex. The blank surface is the beginning of a journey for Baechler, one that he himself is unsure of-an uncertainty he revels in. As he has said 'One reason I build my surfaces up is because I don't really want to know what the line is going to do. I want this built-in fracture; when I drag the brush along the canvas, I don't want it to be a smooth, easy voyage-I want some problems along the way.' It is these obstacles, and the process of overcoming and reworking them, that provide his work with a palpable surface tension. The often apparent purity of his subject matter is in a sense a misnomer.
Baechler has described himself as a formalist-putting line and form above narrative meaning. But his work has an artistic language of its own, a visual syntax that merits close study. The viewer is invited to excavate each work, layer by layer-a richly rewarding experience.
Baechlers' work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art,New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Centre George Pompidou, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris among many other notable institutions worldwide.
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