Gary Baseman’s Ahwroo

With a career beginning in the mid-1980s, Gary Baseman‘s illustrations proliferated across the pages of The New Yorker, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Time. After a decade of this work garnering him international attention as well as professional honors, Baseman opted to concentrate on painting, developing a personal aesthetic influenced by pre-war Disney and Warner Bros. cartoons with conceptual nods to underground comix. And with the opening of Dumb Luck and Other Paintings About Lack of Control at Los Angeles’ Mendenhall Gallery in mid-1999, Baseman began introducing the world to his so-called “secret society” of bizarre characters. From your best friend personified, the fetishistic receptacle of secrets named Toby, to the peg-legged Dumb Luck, a bunny embodiment of irony that fulfilled his desire for a lucky rabbit’s foot by amputating his own leg, Baseman’s world is filled with archetypal personifications of the inarticulated feelings, unreasonable emotions, and secluded impulses that reside within all human beings. Even Baseman’s beloved cat Blackie appears in this world, the feline having been the direct inspiration for the Ahwroo, a name for a singular character as well as its entire race of fur-covered creatures whose unending hunger for love and attention has twisted them into vicious beasts.
In fact, thoroughly connecting Baseman’s Ahwroo creatures with their ferocious nature, they debuted in the Vicious solo exhibition at Milan, Italy’s Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea in April of 2012. With many of the fourteen paintings on canvas, four paintings on old book covers, and eight drawings on pages from old medical textbooks therein featuring the beast, this exhibition was about “primal urges” and “the drive in all of us that exists”, according to a statement from Baseman at the time. “Not knowing how deeply you are inflicting pain on another person”, Baseman elaborates on the concept, lost in “a hunger for love so great that you kill what you love”. And this attitude was personified in his new creature creation, the Ahwroo, who the artist described as “furry and cute but has fangs and claws and will slice your flesh without thinking”. Since its introduction, the Ahwroo has resurfaced several times in Baseman’s work, including a costumed representation appearing in the artist’s The Teenage Girl segment of 2014’s The Blackout film installation and a painted interpretation on a vinyl sculpture of another Baseman character, Creamy. But, for the first time, Ahwroo is the subject of its own, completely unique sculptural form, courtesy of APPortfolio.

Gary Baseman’s Ahwroo from APPortfolio

Captured in a longing gaze that’s locked upon the beloved skull it holds aloft, this Ahwroo sculpture exhibits a pose of supplication, suggesting a regretful tenderness to the theoretical victim of its ferocious affection. Limited to an edition of 300 individually numbered pieces, these polystone resin works each measure approximately 8¼-inches tall, 11⅖-inches long, and 6½-inches wide. Completely hand-painted, allowing for variance and uniqueness in the texturing applied to each copy, the fur of each one has a beautiful two-toned fullness to it that’s accented by the weathered lines cascading down its face. Lips slightly parted, fangs bared forth, do you risk acquiring an Ahwroo for yourself and thus potentially becoming the next casualty of Baseman’s creation’s deadly devotion?

Click Here to Purchase Gary Baseman’s Ahwroo,
available beginning on June 11th, 2018 at 10PM Eastern Standard Time.

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