Basil Beattie


oil on canvas
83 7/8 x 78 x 4 3/8 inches

Basil Beattie refers to himself as a “sort of symbolist,” and much of his recent work resides in an in-between place where shapes might be read as either potent, distilled forms, or purely abstract expressions. A frequent motif is a shape that looks like steps, ladders, or ziggurats, seen here in Above and Below. The stacked rectangles teeter upwards in a diagonal formation, and a simple white line articulates a horizon in the background. Below the horizon, the rectangles feature a series of portals or landscapes, while above the line they are gestural blocks of color. Expressive and enigmatic, Beattie’s work opens itself up to a number of interpretations centered around the movement of the steps and the implied landscapes throughout the piece. Beattie’s work has been included in numerous solo and group museum exhibitions.