Here's of my my latest reviews, from the Pages of Hi-Fructose Magazine:
Dying of Thirst
New Paintings by Gary Baseman
44 pages, Hardcover
I imagine a scenario in which an uninitiated bookstore employee accidentally mis-shelves "Dying of Thirst, New Works by Gary Baseman" in the children's book section of a Borders bookstore somewhere in Omaha. Hordes of eager children flock to page through horrifyingly amusing pictures of naked, bloody children, ghosts, bats and goo while screaming parents yank them away, cursing and sweating, and all the while formulating the story they will relay to the jury. It's a rare and generous thing to get such large reproductions in a catalog of such a small show but it makes the book look startlingly thin. You could almost hang the thing on the wall with a few thumbtacks, dim the lights, and serve your own wine and cheese. This body of work does have some surprises, even for those fully marinated in the juices of "pervasive" art. Baseman starts with pencil studies on weathered German book pages and moves on to monochromatic appropriation of pin-up girl photo outtakes. All of this culminates with full landscape compositions incorporating many of the characters and poses in the previous sections. Thematically, the body of work is tied together with dripping, flesh-toned ambivalence. Gone are the hapless dunces, and other sorry saps who may have stumbled into the scenes. There are no innocent bystanders to latch onto in this collection. Everyone is guilty. Other highlights include floating intestine clouds, tiny skeletons, and creepy arms where there ought to be feet. Dying of Thirst is the latest collection of Baseman's work, published by Last Gasp, and serves as the catalog for his 2007 show, "I Melt in Your Presence", at Modernism Gallery in San Francisco. Look for it at your local bookstore. Be sure to sneak one into the kiddie section, crack open a Clamato, and watch the madness begin.