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Ashley Bickerton (born Barbados, 1959) is a contemporary artist
living in Bali. A mixed-media artist, Bickerton often combines both
photographic and painterly elements with industrial and found object
assemblages. He is associated the early 1980s art movement Neo-Geo,
which includes artists such as Jeff Koons and Peter Halley.
Born in Barbados in 1959, Bickerton is the son of Derek Bickerton, a
linguist and scholar of Creole and pidgin languages. His father's
research work caused his family to move around the globe every
several years. As a child Ashley Bickerton lived in a number of
countries across four continents. The family finally settled in
Hawaii in 1972. British by birth, Bickerton became a naturalized US
citizen in the mid-1980s. He spent 12 years in New York where he
established his career before finally settling on the island of Bali
in 1993 where he resides to this day.
Bickerton graduated from the California Institute of the Arts in
1982 before moving to New York to attend the Whitney Museum
Independent Study Program. After exhibiting for a few years in New
York, he was included in a four person show at the Sonnabend Gallery
in 1986. The exhibition launched the careers of a quartet of young
artists that collectively came to be known as the "Fantastic Four,"
and includes Jeff Koons, Peter Halley and Meyer Vaisman. These
artists formed the core of what came to be known as the "Neo-Geo"
movement. Over the last twenty-five years, Bickerton has exhibited
his work internationally and is included in public art and museum
collections. He has had solo exhibitions at Lehman Maupin Gallery
(2006, 2008), Sonnabend Gallery, (2000, 2004, 2006), both in New
York, and White Cube in London (2001).
His works are held
in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Tate.
Ashley Bickerton's work has explored issues in contemporary art
related to the commidification of the art object itself. Often his
objects are grotesque in a self-aware manner and are often a
critique of capitalism.
In the 1980s
Bickerton made a series of works which resembled packing cases and
crates, covered with corporate logos. His early work is noted for
its display corporate logos and constructions titled as either
"Self-Portraits," "Commercial pieces," or "Anthropospheres." They
are typically Assemblages of technological or industrial materials
with the inclusion of found elements and screen printed iconographic
images. These seemingly functional objects without clear purpose are
often covered in various logos, technological signage, and codes.
His artwork "Abstract Painting for People 4" made in 1987 in now
included in the collection of François Pinault as of 2007.
The mixed-media pieces he made in collaboration with the Singapore
Tyler Print Institute are "spooky" images of green-skinned creatures
emerging from a sea littered with cans and bottles.
Bickerton continues to develop work within his established themes
and iconography of tropical surrealism, green headed characters, and
Assemblages. His work in 2006 and 2007 has taken the form of large
format digital prints and paintings with thick wooden frame
constructions with vairous inlays. These elements can be seen in "Made's
Warung" 2006 and "Green Head with Inlay 1" 2007.