Ashley Bickerton: Ornamental Hysteria @ Newport Street Gallery
The exhibition spans more than three decades of Bickerton’s career and features almost 50 works, including both new and previously unexhibited pieces. The show will present examples of Bickerton’s earlier consumerist work as well as his tropically-coloured mixedmedia paintings, which explore themes varying from fantastic eroticism and nightmares, to ‘the end of the world’.
Ashley Bickerton rose to prominence in the early 1980s as part of New York’s East Village art scene with his vibrant abstract works that offered a sardonic critique of contemporary consumer culture. Alongside Jeff Koons, Meyer Vaisman and Peter Halley, the artist pioneered the ‘Neo-Geo’ movement. His practice – which involves a hybrid of photography, painting and sculpture – constantly investigates issues relating to the commodification of the ‘art object’ itself.
Bickerton’s oeuvre can broadly be demarcated according to the date of his move from New York to Bali in the mid 90s, at which point he began his vibrant ‘Blue Man’ series. Incorporating elements of photography and sculpture, he describes these largely figurative works as ‘parodies of what a painting is supposed to be’. Increasingly interested in the differences between representation in western and non-western cultures, Bickerton’s later work strives to reinterpret art historical genres and the painterly tradition, drawing inspiration from artists as diverse as Willem de Kooning, Andy Warhol, Breugel and Gauguin.
This survey – the first of the artist’s work in the UK since 2009 – includes works from his ‘Non-Word Word’ and ‘Wall-Wall’ series, as well as his ‘Travelogues’. The exhibition will be displayed throughout Newport Street Gallery’s six gallery spaces.
Hirst met Bickerton in New York in the late 1980s and has been collecting his work for over a decade.