SITE SANTA FE
Edited by Katia Zavistovski. Text by Liza Statton, Ashley Crawford, Laura Heon.
The Australian painter Stephen Bush may be best known for having made 27 copies of his The Lure of Paris, a black-and-white work in which Babar the elephant king, cast as colonial explorer, studies the view from a craggy seaside cliff. This survey of Bush's work since 2000, with a selection of earlier pieces, tracks a shift from that beautifully executed but cynical take on history painting towards a more surrealistic, Leipzig-esque style in vibrant, clashing colors. Hermetic, introverted figures and man-made structures--a beekeeper at his nests--are paired with dramatic scenery in an apocalyptic palette of hot pink, coral, lavender and kelly green. As Artforum has noted, Bush turns the landscape genre "inside out. Rather than a mind calmed by the natural environment, these paintings record the external manifestation of psychological trauma."