Math Bass, the Los Angeles-based artist, was born in 1981, in New York. She began her career as a performance artist, but she has currently expanded her practice to include sculpture, video, and painting (Cwynar n.p). She has made several global solo exhibitions, which include “Off the Clock,” MoMA PS1 Contemporary Art Centre, New York, 2015 and “OVERPOP,” Yuz Museum, Shangai, China, 2016 (MoMa n.p). Bass’ unique painting technique on unprinted canvas if what drew my attention on his artistic works. She arranges a visual language of signs, which are painted with watercolor on unprinted canvas (MoMa n.p). Signs in the series that she uses include flowers, cubes, arches, the letter Z, tunnels, alligators, and matches, which interact with each other. Her paintings address image consumption and production by using a language the audience can read, and move them through and around the composition (MoMa n.p).
One of my interests in studying Arts, Visual and Performing/Sculpture has always been to perfect my unique skills on painting, especially on unprinted canvas. This is because since my elementary school level, I have had an uncontrolled passion in painting and I started by drawing and painting cartoons. This is a skill and passion Bass and I share. My focus now, like Bass, is to learn on how to arrange a visual of language signs to create unique images that the viewers can understand.
On the Serpentine Door, gouache on canvas, for example, Bass focuses on exploring a myriad of themes on this piece of artistic work. She is specifically interested in playing with the tension between containment and movement (Ghorashi n.p). The content of this work is ambiguous in the sense that it presents itself for different interpretations (Ghorashi n.p). In the Serpentine Door, gouache on canvas, Bass uses colors and symbols of sign system to develop her own visual lexicon.
Bass created the Serpentine Door, gouache on canvas by painting on an unprinted canvas. She presents a range of simple geometric shapes, such as zigzags and circles, and recognizable objects, such as letters, alligators, smoke, matchsticks and smoke, by using sharpened edges and bright even colors (Hotchkiss n.p) that creates moments of obstinate tension and a strong instant impression that continues to resonate visually (chkiss n.p). These physical processes of this work offset the familiarity of these forms by fusion of the ambiguity of their relations and themselves, which makes a viewer rethink about his or her relation and perception to the things present in their environment (chkiss n.p).
In an interview, Bass lamented that she was interested in studying how she can make an object become an image of itself, and how the image can inform an object (Mack n.p). She further said that most people are ever negotiating their movements through space, and operating around and towards other objects and bodies (Mack n.p). However, she is interested in finding the moment when a body will appear and disappear when it is true that it is not hidden beneath. From this statements, I have learned that to create a better painting, it is advisable to create the image in the sense that it represents the blueprint from which the real object was created. In other words, the painting should somehow serve as the real object, and the real object should serve as the image.
From Bass’ Serpentine Door, gouache on canvas, I have discovered that I will be employing the use of simple geometric shapes and recognizable objects including bright colors and sharpened edges to create an image that continuously resonates. This will enable me to create images that will present themselves to multiple interpretations.
- Cwynar, Frieze. “30 Emerging Artists to Watch During Frieze Week”. Frieze Week, 2015. Internet source. Retrieved from https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-30-emerging-artists-to-watch-during-frieze-week
- Fredericq, Suzanne. Artist Eugene J. Martin’s 2002 Acrylic Paintings on Canvas, Part 1. Place of publication not identified: Estate Of Eugene James Ma, 2010. Print.
- Ghorashi, Hannah. “Phillips Contemporary Art Day Sale Sees Records for Math Bass, Tetsumi Kudo, Jon Pestoni, More”. Mutual Art, 2015. Internet Source. Retrived from http://www.mutualart.com/ExternalArticle/Phillips-Contemporary-Art-Day-Sale-Sees-/F44E290DDB2D9441
- Hershberger, Carlynne, and Kelli M. Huff. Creative Coloured Pencil Workshop: 52 Exercises for Combining Coloured Pencils with Your Favourite Mediums. Cincinnati, Ohio: North Light, 2007. Print.
- Hotchkiss, Sarah. “Math Bass, Empresses and Emperors Hold Court in Fabulous “Over the Top”. Mutual Art, 2017. Internet Source. Retrieved from http://www.mutualart.com/ExternalArticle/Math-Bass–Empresses-and-Emperors-Hold-C/C5C593558C3C81CD