José Basso: Horizons
José Basso’s unique landscapes are at once serene and intense. It’s quite easy to lose oneself in the beauty of the jewel-like colors and soft infusion of light that set the foundation for his work. However, it’s the artist’s ability to strip down the natural world to its most essential elements, leaving only light, air, space, and the few components that remind us of the human presence, that allows him to communicate extraordinary complexity. His paintings exhibit an almost mathematical exactness to the organization of space, but the simplicity and precision in his compositions belie the intricacy of his brushwork and the sophistication of his intentions. Though they skim the surface of traditional landscape painting, Basso’s canvases inhabit the intermediate moment between representational offerings of his native Chile and absolute abstraction.
Parallel bands of color, which serve to anchor strong horizon lines, are punctuated only by the geometric forms of houses and trees. This complete division of space breaks Basso’s landscapes into two distinct worlds - that of the human on one side and the metaphysical on the other. By suppressing representational naturalism and favoring a haunting equilibrium, he captures the essence of solitude, serenity, longing, and memory.
José Basso has garnered numerous awards accolades. In 2011, he was honored with a retrospective at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Santiago, Chile - a show that was voted as the best exhibition of the year by the Museum Board, and in 2015 he was named as one of Chile’s best living artists. He has completed countless important private and public commissions and continues to be added to the permanent collections of museums throughout South America and abroad.