Hugo Xavier Bastidas
Born in Ecuador in 1955 and raised in the US, Bastidas received his BA from Rutgers University in 1979, was awarded a Robert Smithson Scholarship to attend the Brooklyn Museum School of Art Program in sculpture from 1979-80, and completed his MFA from Hunter College, City University of New York in 1986.
Hugo Xavier Bastidas, an internationally recognized painter is represented since 1994 by the Nohra Haime Gallery in New York City. He has received numerous awards and scholarships during the past four decades. Bastidas has exhibited throughout the US, as well as in Europe, South America, the Middle East and Asia, is a Fulbright Fellow and an associate professor of art. His artwork consists of black and white paintings’ whose timely subject matter is driven by his deep concern for the human condition, globalization and its effect on the well being of our planet. His work has been reviewed in numerous publications including the New York Times, Art in America, ArtNexxus and Art and Antiques among others.
The Fulbright fellowship (1990-91) was devoted to painting and sculpture in Ecuador (teaching and curator secondly) and became a pivotal turning point in Bastidas’ artistic development. The return to his country of origin coupled with the immersion into another smaller country’s culture afforded a unique opportunity to study humanity at a micro level. This scrutiny has informed his understanding of the larger macroclimate which is reflected in his artwork. After this juncture Bastidas began to work exclusively in black and white and his subject matter became increasingly a visual dialogue concerned with current socio economic concerns. In Ecuador Bastidas was invited to compete in a national competition, which he won for a permanent sculpture for the 400-year-old La Plaza 24 de Mayo. During the concluding months he organized some of the top artists, architects and writers to form a critical art monthly. He was the Aesthetic Consultant directing the top sculpture students from the Faculted de Artes to design a playground for Sangolqui public park project near Quito. Before the first semester came to completion at La Universidad Central, where he was given his first teaching assignment in advance sculpture, he was awarded honorary Full Professor of Art by the Dean of Arts and the Art Faculty. Upon his return from Ecuador, Bastidas won a Pollack-Krasner Grant (1992-93), had his first solo show at the Nohra Haime Gallery in New York City (1994) and received the Award in Visual Arts from the Colombian-Ecuadorian Association (1995). In Bastidas’ 2002 show at the Nohra Haime Gallery, the critic and art historian Robert Morgan wrote the prologue for the show catalogue titled “Omens in Grisaille”. Most recently in a passage from “Autobiography as Critique” (2014) Howard McCalebb wrote: [An important Latin American born artist showing an interest in 1980’s Representational Painting is Hugo X Bastidas (born 1955 in Quito, Ecuador). He is a United States citizen and lives and works in New York. His paintings can be appreciated as a second generation of the rebirth of representational painting in the late 20th Century, in the United States. But unlike the paintings of Tansey, these quasi-conceptual monochrome artworks generally do not critique art theory – or challenge art world dogma. Bastidas joins the mission to rethink representation, and to look more closely at the content of representational modes of expression, to exploit the language of the embedded idea within the pictorial structure itself. His subjects vary from social and or political concerns, to complex pictures that conflict visual perception against cerebral comprehension.]
Teaching also is also an important facet of Bastidas’ career; he has been a Professor of Art at New Jersey City University since 1998, has taught and lectured continuously at the Art Students League of New York City since 1999. He has also taught at Bennington College and the National Academy Museum and School, New York City. His generosity is apparent by the number of successful students he has taught and mentored over the years. Despite his teaching schedule, Bastidas has produced over 260 paintings and some 390 oil sketches in his familiar approach for the past 23 years. Many of these artworks are in private and public collections worldwide.
Bastidas has been awarded residences in Europe and the US, most recently at Time Equities, Inc Percent for Arts Program in lower New York City (2014-16), Le Masion Verte, Marnay sur Seine, France (2014), Dada Post, Berlin, Germany (2014), Can Serrat in El Bruc near Barcelona Spain (2007), Hungarian Multicultural Center in Balatonfurad Hungary (2006), Centre of Art, Marnay Art Centre (CAMAC) in Marnay sur Seine France (2005), Gallery Boreas Artist Residency in Reykjavik Iceland (2004), Fundacion Valparaiso in Mojacar Spain and at Sibylla Weisweiter Artist Studio in Berlin Germany (2003), Art Omi in New York State (2001). Without doubt, the larger time frames of these residencies have afforded uninterrupted blocks of time to be able to focus intensely and these experiences have given birth to transformation and growth, which is ever constant in Bastidas’ work.
In addition to his teaching and artwork, Bastidas served on the Board of Trustees at National Academy Museum and School in New York and Aljira, A Center for Contemporary Art In New Jersey, is a member of the Century Association in New York City (2000), where he served on the Gallery Advisory Committee and has been curator for several group exhibitions over the years, most recently for the Jersey City Division of Cultural Affairs and Pro Arts in Jersey City, 2008.