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Ashley Bickerton

Ashley Bickerton (b. 1959, Barbados, West Indies; lives and works in Bali, Indonesia) was one of the original members of a group of artists known as Neo-Geo, which emerged in New York in the 1980s. Throughout the evolution of his practice, Bickerton has explored ways to create works that blur the boundaries between painting, photography, and sculpture, calling into question how we define and value the art object itself. Starting around 2000, he began painting directly on his models, their clothes, and props, photographing them from different angles and then editing the images together to create hyper-realistic yet also artificial, disorienting scenes. Bickerton then reworks the printed photograph with thick layers of oil and acrylic paint so that it becomes unclear whether the pigment is painted or part of the photograph. In recent years, he has removed the model from his process, constructing figures out of clay. This introduced sculpture into his photographic paintings, and further abstracted his subject matter. For his show at Lehmann Maupin in 2013, Bickerton exhibited a series of portraits he refers to as m-DNA, inspired by Willem de Kooning’s Woman paintings. Rather than utilize live models, as de Kooning did, these works are manipulated photographs of sculptural busts of women that Bickerton created. As Bickerton explains his complex process, “Painting is too cartoony, photography too clinical, sculpture too presumptuous. But a mixture of all three seems about right. And it’s only in the interchange between the three that I find my true comfort zone.”

 

Bickerton received his BFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 1982 and continued his education in the Independent Studies Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Solo shows of his work have been organized at Musée d'art moderne et contemporain, Geneva (forthcoming, 2018); Newport Street Art Gallery, London (2017); FLAG Art Foundation, New York (2017); and Palacete del Embarcadero, Autoridad Portuaria de Santander, Spain (1997). Select group exhibitions featuring his work include Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC (2016); Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2016); L’Almanach 16, Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2016); Painting 2.0: Expression in the Information Age, Museum Brandhorst, Munich, Germany (2015); Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013); Aquatopia, Tate St Ives, Cornwall, United Kingdom (2013); The Living Years: Art after 1989, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, traveled to Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN and Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (2012); Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990, Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2011); Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection, New Museum, New York (2010); Pop Life: Art in a Material World, Tate Modern, London (2009); Allegories of Modernism: Contemporary Drawing, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1992); Word as Image: American Art 1960-1990, Milwaukee Art Museum, WI (1990), traveled to Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (1991); and the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1989). His work is in numerous international public and private collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Vancouver Art Gallery; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and the Tate Britain, London.