Martin Basher

Martin Basher, Suddenly Still Life, 2022

Aluminium, stainless steel, epoxy paint. 2700 x 900 x 800mm each.

A witness to the pandemic at its most harrowing, when it first swept through New York City in the winter of 2020, New Zealand-born artist Martin Basher was prompted to search out visually immediate forms, which would, in his words, “dance with the natural, while holding nature at a remove.”

Suddenly Still Life is the outcome of this, building on the artist’s exploration of the floral still-life. The botanical forms that have proven a well-spring of motifs, associations and compositional elements for Basher’s painting practice are approached through the rubric of three-dimensional space – an aspect new but apparently natural to the artist.

Like his paintings, these bouquets are angular and sparse. The sculptures are water-jet cut and designed in low-relief so that they almost disappear when approached from the side. This contrasts enigmatically with the layeredness of the works viewed from in front or behind and is a striking effect in works that stand at 3m tall but which so quickly evaporate from view.


Lives and works in Wellington

Martin Basher was born in New Zealand and studied at Columbia University in New York, where he earned a BA (2003) and later an MFA (2008). He has worked across both locations since, living in New York until 2020, when he relocated back to his hometown of Wellington.

Basher’s work interrogates consumer desire through the familiar forms, imagery and spaces which perpetually seduce us to consume, using his materials in a way that seems to dematerialise them in a gesture to the (false) promises of transcendence through material goods.

Basher is represented in New Zealand by Starkwhite Gallery and in the US by Anat Ebgi. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and residencies, solo exhibitions and commissions, and his work is sought after by many public and private collectors.

Courtesy Starkwhite, Auckland and Anat Ebgi Gallery, Los Angeles.