Lars Bohman Gallery has the great pleasure to present works by Donald Baechler in the exhibition Early Works. The American artist Donald Baechler, who began to exhibit internationally early in his career, has since the 1980’s held several solo exhibitions at Lars Bohman Gallery. During one period in his career he was associated with the East Village scene in New York, with names such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Julian Schnabel. This environment held a fascination for the alloy between the iconography of pop art and the intensity of neo-expressionism, an interest where Baechler was predominant. His works are marked by a form of anti-aesthetics, with an emerging interplay between abstraction and figuration in the images’ surface. With a distinct style, and a cunning and witty sense of humour, Baechler examines the representation of cultural icons.
Hidden under the supposedly childish or seemingly simple in Donald Bachler’s works lies a hybrid-like complex of references and concepts. But Baechler’s work may first and foremost be linked to Matisse’s thoughts and words about the creative process: “One must always investigate what the line is striving for, search for the point where it wants to enter or fade away”. And exactly therein lies the aim of Baechler´s method to charge or soil the canvas with miscellaneous, already existing cultural material, such as textiles, silkscreen prints, projected and copied amateur drawings, and other elements of collage – to force the line in different directions over the canvas. Or, in Giocometti’s words: “First you must succeed in destroying everything and then very quickly remake it again, from the beginning…”. In Baechler’s case – to create a compelling foundation for a process bound for mistakes and new attempts. A foundation that makes lines and colours unwilling to follow the artist’s intentions and provokes perpetual retakes. An essential dilemma for painting. And it is precisely as a formalist that one should understand Donald Baechler – with considerations about drawing, composition, and the behaviour of colour on the demarcated surface as central to his oeuvre.
Donald Baechler was born in 1956 in Hartford, Connecticut, USA. He lives and works in New York. Baechler received his education at Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, 1974-76, Cooper Union, New York, 1977-78 and at the Staatliche Hochshule für bildende Kunste, Stadelshule, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 1978-79. He has exhibited widely: his solo exhibitions include: Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York, 1993; Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, 1994; Galerie Bernd Klüser, München; Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York; Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York, 1995; Anders Tornberg Gallery, Lund; Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York, 1997; Galleri Lars Bohman, Stockholm; Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, 1998; Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, 2000; Alain Noirhomme, Bryssel, 2002; Cheim & Read Gallery, New York, 2003; Museum Moderner Kunst Kärnten, Klagenfurt am Wörthersee, 2007; Shearburn Gallery, Santa Fe, 2009; Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, 2010 and Lars Bohman Gallery, Stockholm, 2011; Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, 2012; Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki, 2012; Cheim & Read, New York, USA and at Sarget’s Daughters, New York, 2015.
Works by Donald Baechler are represented at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.