"For MiArt 2016, Neil Raitt and Martin Basher create pieces that address the artifice of nature. Their over-saturated, brilliantly blue paintings recall the glossy, idealized images of beachscapes depicted on computer wallpapers and screensavers. Just as these images offer a false hope for escape – an escape from anxieties that await on our screens – these paintings offer an idealized landscape that are both seductive and impossible to retreat into. Raitt’s vast landscapes are created through rhythmic brushstrokes – up close, the work is delicate and painterly, but the whole of the composition creates an intricate and machinic camouflage pattern. Basher’s approach is to depict, photo-realistically, the gradated colors found in natural landscapes. His signature striped paintings are rich, sharp, and clear. As a nod to glossy tourism postcards, and the idealized graphics of luxurious travel destinations, he first conceptualizes these paintings in Photoshop and then renders them by hand. While their canvases appear aesthetically dissimilar, what adheres these two practices together visually is their prominent use of vibrant, unreal colors, specifically their use of rich blues. At once tranquil, peaceful, sedative, and passive, their palettes address the seductive and artificial nature of the screensaver image."
Martin Basher (b. 1979) Lives and works in New York, NY. Martin Basher’s paintings and sculptures are situated in the lineage of display-based artistic practices. Influenced by the slick, digitally rendered images of retail and advertising, Basher utilizes aspects of this aesthetic in order to activate spaces of sublimated psychological desire. His trademark paintings of gradated stripes are clean, sharp, and show little evidence of the concentrated painting practice in which they were created. Through planning these compositions first on Photoshop, Basher infuses these painted works with the glossy consumerist aesthetic so common in media today. His new series of blue gradated stripes recall the hue of ocean getaways and fantastical clear skies seen in travel advertisements. These paintings, along with his other painted and sculptural work, invoke unspoken drives – questioning the mundane and exclusive, the highbrow and lowbrow, and the public and private impulses that inform us as consuming individuals.
Neil Raitt (born 1986) Lives and works in London, UK. Neil Raitt’s paintings are compositions of endlessly repeated palm trees, mountains, ponds, and other natural motifs. Exploring the idea of repetition itself as a form of abstraction, Raitt’s work addresses landscape painting and the accessibility of its figurative form. With gestures adopted from Bob Ross’ television program The Joy of Painting, Raitt utilizes identifiable imagery in his intricate patterns. Yet, the repetition of the image suspends the atmospheric effect of landscape and its illusion of space, dissolving any sense of perspective. His labyrinthine patterning and ceaseless repetition evoke a limitless flat patchwork that stretches into infinity. While Raitt’s work implies an accelerated machine-like production process, his work is actually borne of time- consuming and heavily labored oil painting. In adopting a new color scheme and playing with scale, these new works by Raitt continue to modernize the traditional landscape. They deconstruct this genre’s figurative language with an approach that is neither wholly kitsch nor fully abstracted.
Martin Basher, Untitled 1, 2016
Martin Basher, Untitled 2, 2016
Neil Raitt, Emerald Waters (Nora)
Neil Raitt, Emerald Waters (Suprova)