Hernan Bas: the best young painter in the world?

Victoria Miro
Five Stars

FLORIDIAN artist Hernan Bas’ early paintings were richly detailed and dimly lit with knotty vegetation and winding rivers, innocent adolescents in the foreground and erotic encounters in the shadows. They were his attempt to replicate the deep imaginative immersion of the novels and poems he fell in love with before painting. His latest show was inspired by the Memphis Group, an artistic movement formed not in Tennessee, but in 1980s Milan (they borrowed the name from a Bob Dylan song). The paintings are still dizzyingly detailed but this time they’re drenched in the lurid Memphis colours. Semi-abstract furniture-like blocks, lush vegetation and decorative baubles crowd the canvas. No longer does Bas dwell in the gloom. The paintings still have a plaintive power, though, found not in the bright, fizzing detail, but in the pensive young men whom that detail threatens to engulf. Memphis Living is confirmation of Bas’ place among the best young painters in the world.