Hernan Bas paints a world informed by the homosocial tropes of our shared cultural moment. His pairings, groupings and even single figures evoke my own sense of place in 1970s culture and reproduce a tension or curiosity that informed my emerging sexual identity. Critics have noted that his figures are very often waifish and white, while his own experience is different. He’s responded clearly that he’s painting from the point of view of desire and erotic curiosity, not necessarily from his experience.
To imply that Bas’s paintings are entirely about the figure would be a disservice. He layers his work with symbolic meaning, offering visual references from his childhood in South Florida, images from contemporary life, and unexpected and weird juxtapositions that both delight and disorient.
His work made during the pandemic is extraordinary — mapping both the cultural moment and the intimate experience of containment / disembodiment that arrises from quarantine. Similarly, his recent work in Venice — Venetian Blind —evokes place while also mapping desire. His work with the occult speaks to the broader questions of spirituality and human complexity.
Wikipedia: Hernan Bas (born 1978 in Miami, Florida, United States) is an artist based in Detroit, Michigan. He graduated in 1996 from the New World School of the Arts in Miami. Bas is known for his depictions of waifs and dandies, who are somewhat based on his own experiences, as well as his work with the material SlimFast and the paranormal. Overtime, Bas says, these characters have grown in his paintings and taken on different roles. Bas is gay and queerness often influences his work in the form of waifs and other young men, typically recurrent characters in his work.
3 thoughts on “Hernan Bas: an introduction”