MoMA PS1, Long Island City

MoMA PS1 | 22-25 Jackson Ave. at 46 Ave., Queens
NY 11101 Long Island City

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press release

LONG ISLAND CITY, April 28, 2015—MoMA PS1 presents the inaugural solo museum exhibition of Los Angeles-based artist Math Bass (American, b. 1981). Off the Clock includes a selection of paintings from the Newz! Series, recent sculptures, and also debuts Bass’s latest video, Drummer Boi (2015). The 2nd Floor Project Rooms at MoMA PS1 will be architecturally transformed to reflect the artist’s ongoing interest in the way bodies move through space, probing the porousness of defined structures. Bass is interested in ambiguous images that produce multiple ways of seeing a single composition. The most famous examples of these kinds of pictures include optical illusions like the profile of a duck that also looks like a rabbit, or the profile of an old woman that also looks like a young woman turning her head away. Employing a simplified formal language—solid colors, natural materials, basic geometric shapes, and recognizable symbols—Bass’s works oscillate between bodily and architectural forms, emphasizing the tension between containment and mobility. Bass’s paintings deploy a personal lexicon that centers on possible actions or transitional spaces: cigarettes emit plumes of smoke; alligators emerge with mouths wide open; letters and punctuation marks twist and overlap; and archways, staircases, and zigzags suggest movement. Bass’s sculptures are similarly dynamic— bending, leaning, and slithering across the floor and wall— implying potential actions or movements and corresponding bodily positions. Additionally, Bass invited artist Lauren Davis Fisher (b. 1984, Cambridge, Massachusetts) to present a two-part work that excises from two gallery walls a space equal to the exact proportions of an alcove beneath a staircase in Bass’s Los Angeles studio. Certain forms recur throughout Bass’s work, changing colors and shifting their orientations to complicate and prolong the viewer’s engagement with them over time. In the artist’s words, “the scene is set on an axis, and that axis is made to shift.” Off the Clock animates the transition from work or labor to a space of leisure or play. If the clock represents rigidity, linearity, or someone else’s authority, then “off the clock” implies a more personal, open-ended realm that cannot be pinned down. Evoking bodies, but refusing easy identification, Bass’s work insists upon multiple readings with elusive conclusions. About the Artist Bass’s work has been exhibited at Overduin & Co., Los Angeles; Wallspace, New York; Laurel Gitlen, New York; Night Gallery, Los Angeles; and Silberkuppe, Berlin; among others. Bass was also recently featured in the 2012 Hammer Museum Biennial, Made in L.A.

Math Bass is organized by Mia Locks, Assistant Curator, MoMA PS1.

The exhibition is made possible by MoMA's Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the MoMA PS1 Annual Exhibition Fund.