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Go and decide for yourself but don’t miss the Bassett paintings in the lobby

Robert Bassett Exhibition, Ace Gallery

Some months ago, while visiting the Ace Gallery, I discovered three abstract paintings in the lobby of the Ace Building that are quite breathtaking.

All three are notable for their stunning brushwork and lightness of touch, as well as their striking compositions. If I had to choose one word to describe them, it would be ethereal.

And yet, in some respects, these paintings remind me of the abstract surrealist paintings of Arschille Gorky, which are not ethereal at all.

I wondered who had done them. I thought that possibly they had been imported from New York. What I learned, however, was even more surprising, for they have been produced by Bermudian artist Robert Bassett.

I say surprising because I thought I knew Mr Bassett’s style and painting technique, but these paintings are way beyond his usual painting style and it has caused me to wonder why we have not seen more of this kind of work.

In my estimation, these paintings are some of the finest, that I have seen, by any Bermudian artist.

Having recently spoken with Mr Bassett, I learned they were painted in 2007 and that he is currently painting other, similar abstracts, which he plans on exhibiting in about a year. I look forward to that exhibition.

In recent years Mr Bassett has been less active in the local exhibition scene, but apparently during these quiet years, he has been at work, perfecting his artistic skills and expanding his vision, for these three paintings are such, that they can hold their own with the best of international abstraction.

All this is background to his current exhibition in the Ace gallery just down the corridor from the Ace lobby, which, it has to be said, does not come up to the standard exhibited in the lobby.

There are, of course, some very good paintings on show, especially several of his floral compositions, which also exhibit something of this new light, fresh brush work, but his Gombey paintings are notable for their heavy, almost crude slathers of paint into which sequence and glitter has been placed.

In that respect, they recall the work of Chris Ofili, especially in his use of sequins and glitter, but as dancers, Mr Bassett’s Gombeys are so heavy, I wonder how they could ever get moving, let alone get off the ground.

The Ace Gallery is in the Ace Building, just off Pitts Bay Road and is open from 11am to 2pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The Robert Bassett exhibition continues through March 8, 2012. It is a show I recommend, especially the three large abstracts in the lobby but also his floral paintings.

But don’t take what I say about the Gombey paintings as the final word. Go and decide for yourselves what you think about them.

Robert Bassett Show(Photo by Akil Simmons) February 20, 2012

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Published February 22, 2012 at 1:00 am (Updated February 22, 2012 at 7:40 am)

Go and decide for yourself but don’t miss the Bassett paintings in the lobby

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