The eerie works of William Basso blend painting, drawing, photography, collage, and sculpture. And even more varied are the influences of these strange scenes, from Eastern European art and the Renaissance to pulp comics and folklore. The artist’s work is influenced by his experience in the film industry, crafting special-effect characters.
William Basso’s current show at New York’s Last Rites Gallery, “Mise-en-scene,” takes its name from a French theater term that describes all the elements in a stage production or film — the actors, lighting, scenery, etc. Basso treats his mixed-media assemblages something like tiny film sets. He begins by sculpting his figures out of a hodgepodge of materials, such as clay, cardboard, string, paper, wire, tape, wood, hair, and odd bits of cloth. Then, he photographs these sculptures, alters them in PhotoShop, and uses the resulting digital prints to create textured collages. The final works live somewhere between sculpture and digital art. For “Mise-en-scene,” his assemblages are displayed alongside the original sculptures and 3D objects from which they originated. The show is on view through May 16 at Last Rites.