Yavuz Gallery is delighted to present Northern Verses, Christopher Bassi’s debut solo exhibition with the gallery.
“Bassi is interested in the materials and approaches of western painting. He works with oil on canvas, and refers to artists from the western canon for inspiration. Yet within Bassi’s paintings, these western frameworks reappear re-made as estranged, uneasy, awkward. Bassi’s mise-en-scènes feature familiar symbols and icons of ‘the exotic’ that reluctantly lurk, casting sulky, lambent shadows on a pictorial centre-stage. Each of Bassi’s paintings share the same glazed background washes. Dragged thinly across the surfaces, the oxides and umbers sink into the warp-and-weft of the canvas beneath, making the fabric of the artwork a key to understanding the capacity of a painting to perform as a stage. These warm washes underscore Bassi’s choice to re-present painting as a platform on which he situates each subject for reconsideration.”- Patricia Hoffie AM
Bassi, born 1990 in Brisbane is a descendant of the Meriam and Yupungathi peoples of the Torres Strait and Cape York Peninsula. Working with archetypal models of representational painting, his work engages with the medium as sociological and historical text. It addresses issues surrounding cultural identity, alternative genealogies, as well as colonial legacies in Australia and the South Pacific. Through critical re-imagining, his paintings become a space for a type of speculative storytelling that consider questions of history, place and the entangling of personal & collective experience.
Tropical flora is a recurring subject in Bassi’s works, used as symbols to speak of shared climates, cross-cultural experiences and a shifting idea of home, place and belonging. Works such as Shade from the Sun act as a means for Bassi to locate himself in the world, connecting his home of Brisbane with his family connections to Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait where these plants flourish.
As a result of their shared background, every work in this exhibit – the palm fronds, frangipani, shells, paw-paws, pearls, and human participants – call across the boundaries of each canvas to each other, so that within the gallery, the works coalesce into a singular installation format.