If a work by the pseudonymous Czech-born urban artist known as BASK does not prompt a serious thought or two, then you need to look closer. Behind the colors, behind the compository elements, and behind the tongue-in-cheek pop culture and mass advertising references is something (and someone) a wee bit angry.
The typical BASK painting is a mixed-media piece on found material or wooden panels; the latter often being fashioned into a more suitable frame by the artist himself. The content of a BASK painting, however, is far from typical, even in this age where political and/or social messages have become fairly common motifs of artistic expression.
BASK is not unlike Francis Bacon, the modern British master who discerned the moral rot behind society's status quo. Further, he is wickedly aware of how the collective machinery of the marketplace - the advertorial syllabi and the enhanced images of self-gratification - is often a self-defeating monster eating itself and its own young. To his credit (and perhaps to the relief of the viewer), his awareness is infused with a delicious and knowing sense of humor. There may be a trace of sadness attached to BASK's smile, but he is smiling nevertheless. Probably straight at us.
Bask is the moniker of one, Ales Bask Hostomsky, who along with his parents emigrated from Czechoslovakia to Florida and began to soak up America’s popular iconic imagery along with the sun.
Bask quickly began to notice similarities between the communistic iconic propaganda from his youth and the consumer advertising of his teens. He soon discovered that they were simply, two sides of the same coin. Each vying for our short-lived attention spans, all the while selling us (or telling us?) anything and everything from Marxism to McDonalds. Seeking conspiracies -and finding them embedded in the popular iconography of the mass media, Bask began painting bold, media critical broadsides to assuage his fear of being manipulated. A fear cultivated in a repressive regime, had now returned, but to the most unlikely and safest of places- The American living room.
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