NEW YORK, NY.- Onslaught
is a virtual exhibition of recent paintings by Hugo Bastidas. Born as reaction to the onslaught of wave after wave of struggle, from the pandemic to racial reform, these small works reflect the mood of the artist, and perhaps, the country and world.
Onslaught embodies the same tongue and cheek, irony and deadpan approach as the artists previous works, this time on a smaller, more intimate scale to provide respite from larger ongoing projects. We see Bastidas shift from his limited palette of black and white to include small pops of color in the majority of Onslaught. One such work, Everywhere (2019), shows a young girl blissfully skipping under the soft blue sky, until closer inspection reveals a surprising twist of ferocity. Another, Looking Through The Guise (2019), brings utter confusion and frustration as the viewer tries to process an ordinary scene through shattered glass. These paintings illustrate how quickly misperceptions can lead to bewilderment, fear and even hysteria.
Bastidas continues with his signature grisaille style in selected pieces from two recent ongoing projects, the Shadow Works and Stamp Works. The Shadow Works are the artists consideration of the present racial upheaval. Here Bastidas plays with new mediums, carefully combining watercolor and graphite to bring subtle tonal variations. The paintings depict soft shadows of our natural world on the pavement of various neighborhoods. Closer inspection reveals the shadows derive from weeds, yet they are as sublime and wonderful as any planted flower. What we have been led to believe and surrender our good judgment as undesirable, unneeded and problematic, is not. On the contrary, it is that which adds life to the paved, transformed, and transferred environment.
Each tiny painting in the Stamp Works capture a fleeting moment that has been undervalued, disregarded or given little attention. Portions of the peripheral backdrop acting as a filler are examined and carefully painted with efficient marks, shedding light on what would otherwise be overlooked.
In Onslaught, Bastidas takes us down a familiar path of flawless execution and style. The subtle differences in color and medium are a welcome change as he reflects on heavy topics dealing with the worlds current socio-uncertainties. He encourages us, as in life, not to simply peruse the work, but to study it, connect with it, and learn from it.
Bastidas was born in Quito, Ecuador and raised in New Jersey. Over the course of his career he has received numerous awards and grants, including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and a Fullbright Fellowship. He received his MFA from Hunter College in 1987, and has participated in numerous exhibitions worldwide.