Antonio Colombo is proud to present Vicious, the new solo show by Gary Baseman, containing about thirty new works: 14 paintings on canvas, 4 paintings done on old book covers, and 8 drawings made on pages from old medical textbooks.
These works have been created specifically for this show, and they include new characters for the first time, new personalities in the rich fantasy imagery of the American artist.
The exhibition focuses on “hunger” as a basic instinct that reflects the animal that exists in every human being. But what are the new, curious toothy creatures invented by Baseman hungry for?
“Basically, they only want some love and affection – the artist says – but their hunger is so great that it is transformed into viciousness”.
The new paintings and drawings of the “Vicious” series can be divided into categories: landscapes, on the one hand, and portraits of girls with bizarre hairy creatures, on the other.
The landscapes show a sort of lyrical gathering of characters bent on playing, dancing and floating in a hypnotic dreamlike state.
Some of the new paintings represent episodes in which it is not clear if the furry creatures are innocently playing with the girls or ferociously fighting with them. The images Baseman paints, in fact, are hard to grasp, ambiguous. They describe enigmatic events, situations and circumstances, open to multiple interpretations.
A versatile artist, illustrator, designer and author of the famous Disney cartoon Teacher’s Pet, winner of three Emmy Awards, Gary Baseman is considered one of the outstanding figures of the Pop Surrealist scene in California, marked by the contamination between art and popular culture.
Baseman began his career in New York in the second half of the Eighties and the early Nineties, working as an illustrator with The New Yorker, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Time, Atlantic Monthly and The Los Angeles Times.
After returning to California, Baseman focused on exploration of different hybrids between art, fashion, advertising, design, music and cinema, and coined the term “Pervasive Art” to define his aesthetic, capable of “blurring the boundaries between Fine Art and Commercial Art”.
With his painting, influenced by vintage cartoons of Warner Bros and Disney, but also by the critical and conceptual attitudes of underground comics, Baseman has created a fantasy universe inhabited by bizarre creatures, characters like Toby, Dumb Luck, ChouChou and Hotchachacha, alter egos of the artist that also embody unexpressed feelings, the inadmissible emotions and secret impulses every man feels with respect to the feminine world. Women, in fact, are the fulcrum around which Baseman’s visions rotate, often focusing on the conflict between good and evil, love and death, joy and suffering in human experience.
Included by Entertainment Weekly in the list of the 100 most creative people in the world of “entertainment”, Gary Baseman has shown paintings in museums and galleries all over the world, and gained a vast number of fans thanks to his vinyl toys, handbags, prints and other mass-market products. Besides the Teacher’s Pet series broadcast by ABC in 2000-03, which become a movie in 2004, together with a group of designers Gary Baseman has also created the visual identity of Cranium, a board game that is very popular in America.