Treading the boundary between figuration and abstraction, often with a touch of the grotesque or sinister, Ashley Bickerton created collaged wall-pieces, paintings, and prints that examine the production and commodification of art in contemporary consumer society.Read More
Ashley Bickerton completed his studies at the California Institute of the Arts in 1982 before attending the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York.
In the late 1980s, he garnered attention for his neo-conceptualist works and association with the artist group Neo-Geo that included Jeff Koons, Peter Halley, and Mayer Vaisman. As Bickerton told Ocula Magazine in 2014, however, he found the connection to be restrictive: 'I was boxed by the box.'
Bickerton's move from New York to Bali in the 1990's led to a break with his earlier works. Tormented Self-Portrait (Susie in Arles) (1987–1988), for example, employs corporate-style logos to claim a consumer identity. By contrast, 'Flotsam Series' (2021) brings together the flotsam gathered from Bali's shores, paint, and wooden crates to create 'reimagined landscape paintings' as Rory Mitchell wrote for Ocula in 2021.
Later work also involved painting his subjects' bodies, then manipulating their photographs in order to create uncanny caricatures with disproportionate and unsettling features.
Discussing the fundamental differences between his works in New York and Bali, Ashley Bickerton told Ocula in 2015 that 'some seeds just don't grow in certain environmental conditions.'
Bickerton provided a dystopian view of humanity through his portraits of grotesque figures such as his infamous 'blue-man'. Often a self-portrait, 'blue-man' is representative of the 20th century man who, in Bickerton's works, is both a family man and a manic drug fiend.
Pieces produced during Bickerton's time as an artist-in-residence at the STPI, Singapore, in 2006 have an almost nightmarish quality with monstrous-looking heads peering out from beneath the surface of water surrounded by debris.
Bickerton's works are held in many international public collections including at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate, London; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Foundation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, Paris; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Berardo Collection Museum, Portugal; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Solo exhibitions include Seascapes at the End of History Organized by Ellie Rines, Lehmann Maupin, New York (2022); In Focus: Ashley Bickerton, Lehmann Maupin, New York (2021); Ashley Bickerton, Newport Street Gallery, London (2017); Walls and Paintings, Dirimart Gallery, Istanbul (2015); Mitochondrial Eve/Viral Mother, Lehmann Maupin, New York (2013); 313 Gallery, Seoul (2012); White Cube, London (2009).
Group exhibitions include Navigating Entropy, Gajah Gallery, Jakarta (2022); Chat Roulette, Massimo De Carlo, London (2020); People, Deitch Projects, Los Angeles (2019); Amplituhedron, K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong (2018); Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s, Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C. (2018); Archaeology Of The Present, Gajah Gallery, Singapore (2016); Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney's Collection, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2016); Illeana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New, MoMA, New York (2013).
In 2022, Gagosian announced representation of Ashley Bickerton.
Ashley Bickerton's website can be found here.
Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2022