David Ebony's Top 10 New York Gallery Shows for April
David Ebony, Friday, April 8, 2016
4. Hernan Bas at Lehmann Maupin, through April 23.
Sensuous and sumptuous, the recent paintings and works on paper on view in this exhibition, “Bright Young Things," are among Hernan Bas's most convincing efforts. The Miami-born artist is well known for his exploration of queer identity in figurative compositions filled with equal doses of angst and fantasy. For this group of works, he was inspired by specific literary and art-historical sources to examine bohemian lives of artists and writers in the early decades of the 20th century. Drawing especially on D.J. Taylor's book, Bright Young People: The Lost Generation of London's Jazz Age as a source, Bas's imagery centers on a critique of all things “masculine" following the catastrophic results of male aggression in World War I.
With fresh and lively brushwork, and passages of purely abstract painting inspired by Art Deco designs, works like House Training (South American Blue Flamingo), and The Haunters of First Nights, are striking and unforgettable. The former, a fantastic image, and one of my favorites here, shows two young men at a table piled with conch shells, leading a blue flamingo out of a pan of water. Champagne Corks Bobbed in the Pool That Morning, is a more subtle but equally gorgeous painting showing, as the title suggests, the melancholy, hung-over aftermath of what was, no doubt, an evening of drunken debauchery. The Roaring Twenties, indeed!