April 10, 2012
Bomb Bits: Hernan Bas’ Occult Contemporary
By Kari Adelaide
Hernan Bas’s exhibition, Occult Contemporary, presents a tarnished and transitory landscape where storytelling occurs in a realm of stillness. Bas frequently deals with supernatural and fantastical elements (fairies, vampires, and chimerical creatures), and this body of work introduces the allegorical habitation of fallen angels. Within his radiant and gothic paintings, pervasive forces and shadowy figures are languidly positioned within faintly illumined woods, with an oddly eerie and serene presence of being. Bas’s fabrication of wilderness, with massive twisting roots, severed trunks and fallen timbre, depicts oblivion and a contemplation of loss. In the midst of this doom and meditation is an irreversible passage of time (symbolized by the passage of water). The beings and situations within the narrative renderings seem nearly petrified, and beyond the entangled woodland enclosures there are suggestions of action, movement, and possibility: we see rivers and bridges leading somewhere, revealing a timeless allegory of choice and potential for change. Bas asserts how the works are distanced from any autobiographical elements, but he acknowledges that recently moving to Detroit may have influenced the depictions of nature overcoming idleness, collapse, and decay, leading to an entangled and chaotic quasi-naturalized genesis of wreckage.