Martin Basher’s painting and sculptural work is situated in a lineage of display-based artistic practices. Working with the languages of retail and advertising, Basher explores the emotional charge of common objects and images. From his trademark paintings of abstract gradated stripes and photo-real, screen-saver beaches, to sculptural installations serving as displays for consumer goods, Basher activates spaces of sublimated desires, at once familiar and strange for the altered retail scenarios they present. In these complex displays, Basher invokes unspoken drives, the mundane and exclusive, the highbrow and lowbrow, and the public and private impulses that inform us as consuming, desiring individuals. Since Covid, Basher's work has also come to consider how nature, in the time of the anthropocene, might factor into the practice. Highly stylized, Ikebana-esque floral arrangements introduce an additional element into the work; a flora as ersatz as the retail experiences they populate.
Martin Basher (b. 1979, Wellington, New Zealand) holds a BA (2003) and MFA (2008) from Columbia University in New York and a DocFA (2018) from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Basher’s work has been shown internationally at galleries and public institutions including the University of Connecticut; Art In General, New York, Exit Art New York; Socrates Sculpture Park, New York, The Auckland Art Gallery; City Gallery Wellington and The Public Art Fund, New York. Basher lives and works between New York City and Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.