Artist Huma Bhabha has become well known for her visceral, assemblage-based sculptures. Built of wood scraps, Styrofoam, wire, clay, and other cast-off material, Bhabha’s sculptures are exclusively figurative and often take the form of conventional classical genres like portrait busts and walking and reclining figures. Bhabha describes her sculptures as “characters” that though their materiality, rough construction, and references to the history of sculpture become rich screens for projections of psychological depth. Bhabha’s work draws from a broad and eclectic range of influences, incorporating art-historical references to everything from classical and African sculpture to the works of modernists like Picasso, Brancusi, and Giacometti. At the same time, the works also recall elements of popular culture, especially the dystopic visions of science fiction pioneers Philip K. Dick and J.G. Ballard.
Recently, Bhabha has began making two-dimensional works. Her exhibition at the Aspen Art Museum focuses exclusively on these large-scale, over-painted, and collaged photographs. Beginning with photographs she has taken of desolate landscapes and abandoned construction in disparate locations, Bhabha layers the images with hallucinatory streaks of ink in saturated colors and sharp, gestural figuration, lending the works the same spontaneity and raw materiality as her sculptures. Sometimes, mask-like faces overlay horizon lines that have been upended. Often combining figuration and landscape, she offers a state of ruin that is neither past, present, or future. Although the materials in her work can allude to decay and trauma, they also connote reuse and rebrith through the creative process.
Huma Bhabha was born in 1962 in Karachi, Pakistan, and currently lives and works in Poughkeepsie, New York. Most recently, she was included in the 2010 Whitney Biennial and participated in an exhibition of sculpture at City Hall Park in New York organized by the Public Art Fund. In 2008 she participated in the 7th Gwangju Biennale in Gwangju, Korea, and received the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum Emerging Artist Award. Her work has been widely exhibited internationally, including in group exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium; MOMA PS1, New York; Royal Academy of Arts, London; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; and Arena Mexico Arte Contemporaneo in Guadalajara, Mexico.