In his latest body of work Bali resident Ashley Bickerton used the larger than life Jimbo Pellegrine as his muse (‘possibly the best surfer of size in the world!’). His exhibit opened at Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York on May 6.
From the press release: In Nocturnes, Bickerton’s third solo exhibition at Lehmann Maupin, the artist revisits mankind’s antithetical attraction and repulsion to the grotesque, exotic, and sexual. Whereas previous works depicted abundant worlds of health, happiness, family, and cohesion, Bickerton has become disillusioned with the brilliance and wholesomeness that colored these preceding works, now drawing inspiration from the phrase ‘twisting and flapping in the neon wilderness’.
This new body of work, which includes paintings and c-prints, reveals the sordid gutters of paradise; a fractured world illuminated by neon and laden with lost boys, bloated sex tourists, escapist degenerates and opportunists. In select works, this tawdry and bent environment, rich with human longing and broken promise, serves as a playground to Bickerton’s signature blue man, who reappears as an explosive madman on a white-knuckle tear through the world, gluttonously devouring all that is adrenal or sensual.
Others frame packs of lost boys running amok amidst a blur of neon bars and go-go clubs, provoking the viewer to question their place in the setting, whether they are fixtures of the back-alley debauchery, or simply mischievous children playing in the streets. In his transition from sunlight to darkness, Bickerton sees one no less alluring or lustrous than the other, offering only an analytic account of the dichotomous world.
Jimbo in action: