dasa bausova – ART

Words and Art and Aspen: A Portrait of Dasa Bausova, the Artist

07.04.2010 (2:25 pm) – Filed under: media coverage ::

Submitted by Jamie Lynn Miller on Mon, 03/29/2010 – 20:00

Mixed media artist Dasa Bausova escaped from the Czech Republic and spent a year in an Austrian refugee camp, before finding her way to relatives in the Promised Land – Cleveland, Ohio – at age 16.

“In Cleveland, the sun was too low, the sky was too big, the land was too flat…I walked around hunched over, thinking the sky was going to fall on me,” says Dasa, now living and practicing art in Aspen, Colorado. Her first year in the U.S., she didn’t speak; in either language. “I think I was just really disoriented,” she shares, reflecting on that quiet time of introspection. Art became her main form of communication and her truest connection to her new life in the United States.

The Artist The Artist

Her journey started with the fall of the Iron Curtain and the hope of a better life in the West. “The Czech Republic was still a Soviet-ruled country, but in the early 80’s, Yugoslavia was a sovereign nation. My mom was obsessed with escaping to be with her brothers in the U.S. We headed to Yugoslavia but they took our passports – so, we decided to enjoy a little vacation!” recalls Dasa, with a smile.

“Mom came up with the idea of making a run for it at the border but I said, ‘Mom, they shoot people for that. Not smart.’ The authorities wanted our luggage 24 hours in advance before the return trip. I remember it was a very hot day, so the tour guide told us she was gonna hand out the passports outside the bus, due to the heat,” Dasa explains. “I immediately offered to help. I saw our passports on the top of the stack and I grabbed them, then calmly passed the pile to someone else. And Mom and I slowly walked away.”

They ran behind the bus, hid behind walls and finally made their way towards the highway. Though the Yugoslavian police looked for them, it was more of a token search: “The police were sympathetic to the Czech people’s plight; they were only obligated to search, but not to necessarily find,” shares Dasa.

Mother and daughter hitchhiked to Austria and boarded the train. “We had no luggage at all; everyone knew what was going on,” she explains. “We met an Austrian woman, who took us home for the weekend, fed us and helped us get our visa.”

Next stop, a refugee camp in Vienna, where they waited for permission to enter the U.S. “My uncle had to sponsor us; at the time, the U.S. was only accepting families, or men – they wouldn’t allow single women into the country!”

A year later, they finally made it to Cleveland. Dasa spent the first year virtually silent: turning inward, painting portraits and trying to master high-school level schoolwork without knowing English. “I’d memorize what I needed to know, like the names of the arteries, or vocabulary words. I figured if I just listened to people I could learn how to imitate them. I signed up for a commercial arts program, four hours of drawing a day and on the weekends, I’d loiter around Cleveland’s amazing art museums!

Sparkles, by Dasa Bausova Sparkles, by Dasa Bausova

While art eased the transition to U.S. soil, her zest for the creative life stems from her Czech upbringing. “My single mother signed me up for every arts program imaginable,” says Dasa, with a laugh. “Ceramics, piano, dancing…she’d say, ‘Get out there and see it all and you’ll figure out what you like.’ I was really into theater but always returned to art…theater was such a group activity and art has always been just me and my materials. I like that about art.”

That first year fostered reflection and resolve; while she stayed quiet, she absorbed the world around her, surrounding herself with the words, images and sounds of her new home. She graduated from high school and went on to receive a Masters in Arts Administration. Fast-forward to Aspen, Colorado, a long way from Cleveland, Ohio, filled with brighter skies, a constantly changing horizon and much to inspire her artistic sensibilities.

Dasa served as Marketing Director at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, 13 years ago, and has since focused on freelance marketing and making her own art, enjoying cross-country skiing, puttering around on her bike and a passion for music, which inspires her musings.

“I love music,” says Dasa. “What I hear on the radio, what I read about music…I like to use song lyrics and integrate them into my work. Different music drives my work in different ways I listened to a lot of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds for this current project, combined with the occasional 80’s techno,” she divulges, with a smile.

Her work provokes random thought and mind wandering, to places always colorful, less actual and more possible. The current masterpiece is 2009’s Matter over Mind exhibit, an artistic look at the ways the brain plays tricks on us. “My grandmother had a massive stroke about five years ago and her brain seemed to separate itself from her, in spite of what was happening to her body,” explains Dasa. “It made me think that the brain is a big machine that only cares about its own health. I started observing the nonsense, the weird thoughts, hopes and desires that go through my own head.”

Achtung Baby, by Dasa Bausova Achtung Baby, by Dasa Bausova

The work sits besides an exhibit entitled, “No Excuses”, further exploring the places the brain goes, where logic doesn’t necessarily follow. “There are no more excuses,” she declares: “they are all being carefully painted, categorized and rationalized out of existence.”

Words, images, flowers, skeletons, Black Barbies representative of a more modern African-American woman, to the traditional use of a Swastika in its purest, 5,000 year-old form, symbolizing “Let Good Prevail”; the work involves separate squares made from traditional and non-traditional materials: mixed media, acrylics, interior decorating materials, markers, white-out and most importantly, input from the audience as to how they should be arranged.

“People might buy two or three squares, then put them into their own groupings, “ she explains. “It’s fun to see how others interpret them; I put it out there, but 80% is what they bring to it. That’s how I know I’ve done my job.”

And how does she know when a job is finally done? “I spend a long time staring at my work,” shares Dasa. “That’s the hard part. As long as it bugs me for some reason I know it’s not done…it’s painful; it hurts. I get obsessive. It’s like a puzzle piece missing. When it stops bothering me, that’s when I know it’s done.”

Lately, she’s been obsessed with black paint and glitter and the ongoing potential of Matter over Mind. “I’m not done with it,” she confesses. “It’s inexhaustible!”

For more on Dasa Bausova, visit dasabausova.com or http://www.flickr.com/photos/dasa_bausova/sets/

local art in most prestigious U.S. art show

25.03.2009 (2:52 pm) – Filed under: media coverage ::

By Ashlee Fairey, Sun Staff Writer, Snowmass Sun, Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Miami was pulsating with contemporary art in early December, and local valley artists were right in the midst. LivAspenArt, a gallery located at the base of Highlands, exhibited work at Bridge Art Fair Wynwood during Miami’s Art Basel week – the vanguard of today’s art that attracts the world’s most eminent collectors and artists.

Art Basel Miami Beach, which ran from Dec. 3 – 6, is considered the most prestigious art show in the United States, initially spawning from the famed Art Basel in Switzerland. Since its inception, the rapid swelling of Art Basel Miami’s participating artists, visitors and reputation led to an overflow of art, spilling into a myriad of satellite fairs. More than one dozen shows have sprung up around the venerable venue, including this year’s novelty, Bridge Art Fair Wynwood.

Along with 35 other galleries hailing from across the globe, LivAspenArt set up their booth in Miami’s design district. Gallery owner Olivia Daane Reische started LivAspen three years ago, transforming her personal art studio into a working gallery. Wandering into the space today, visitors will usually find Olivia and “artist-in-residence” Matt Neuman painting away. It is a unique concept that combines exhibition space with artist-customer interaction, allowing a buyer to hear the creator’s thoughts on a piece before purchasing the work.

LivAspenArt was asked to exhibit in the invitational-only Bridge Art Wynwood, which made its debut at this year’s Basel Week. Featured painters included Reische, Matt Neuman, Alicia Matesanz de las Heras, Tori Mitas-Campisi, Kat Parkin (a photographer) and Dasa Bausova.

Czech Republic-native Dasa Bausova worked for several years in Snowmass Village for Anderson Ranch’s marketing department. Her own work deals with political and philosophical theories and analyzes how supposed contradictions intertwine.

One of her previous series, entitled “Improbable Narratives,” played with people’s latent jealousy of religious believers that Dasa sensed in Czech culture. She explained that Czechs were outwardly proud of their progressive, secular society and would never think to espouse religion, and yet a “twinge of envy of structure faith” could be felt humming among the people.

Provoking viewers to reconcile the irreconcilable, she depicts devils and angels in a loving embrace and angels striking erotic poses for the camera. Her folk-inspired style in this collection combines bright colors, stylized figures and bold text to remind us that these paradoxes are inherent in quotidian culture.

For the Bridge show, Dasa chose to display paintings from her “Matter over Mind” series, a collection of works that play with puns, and questions the importance people place on the mind. She suggests that matters of the mind perhaps don’t matter; instead, we should mind our impulses and heart-felt reactions. Her art incorporates the letter “m” and asks the viewer to unconsciously find meaning in sound, colors and textures.

Dasa described the experiences that led her to this aesthetic theme. In the past four years, she has faced death in her family time and again. She found that, when confronted with such sadness and pain, “the mind separates from the dying person. The brain is desperate to save itself,” and so clouds reality from the conscious. “I realized the mind is not who we are, it is just a thing,” she explained.

“I am conscious that I can’t throw the brain out altogether, but I try not to think about my work,” said Dasa. “The ultimate is when I feel like someone else is making my work. I get into the zone, a place of great discovery. The brain just gets in the way.”

“free MIND” is one of Dasa’s works that hung at Bridge. Using acrylic paint, contact crayons and color pencils on textured mulberry paper, she plays with notions of unfettered freedom, the elusiveness of thought and the morphing state of one’s mind through text, iconic symbols and a lack of spatial setting.

Dasa Bausova reuses particularly pregnant imagery and symbols, as can be seen in her second piece displayed, “think M M M.” An amorphous bubble reappears with wispy lines and soft circles, and the letter “m” once again imbues the composition with meaningful sound.

This time, the brain is marked by a squirming mass of black squiggles highlighting the chaos of thoughts that just sits, tangled and heavy. The word “think” scrawled across the page poses a paradox, for it simultaneously asks the viewer to think about the work while challenging us to scrutinize the limitations of calculating thought.

Despite the striking talent of the exhibiting artists, LivAspenArt came away from the fair with few sales. Although Art Basel and the surrounding venues have previously been accustomed to frenzied buying, the foundering economy pulled Basel Week profits down with it. The Miami Herald reported nearly a fifth of the Art Basel galleries seeing sales down at least 30 percent from last year.

Although sales forecasts were gloomy going in, Olivia Daane Reische said she “tried not to think about sales, just about putting our best foot forward. We are a new, young gallery and we tried to put together a great show. And we did.”

Of the six artists exhibiting, two sold work. There may not have been many bites, but there were nibbles galore. LivAspenArt received clamorous applause from attendees. Reflecting on the praise and keen interest, Reische mused, “It’s nice to sell at openings, but the ripple effect is what is exciting.” She guessed that given wide-spread financial hardship, people are taking longer to make decisions. The gallery owner compared selling art to match-making, something that you can’t force. “If you like a piece, you can’t get it out of your head,” she stated. If someone was truly taken, they’ll be back.

The opportunity to move art is not the only benefit of Basel Week. Considering the influential collectors and galleries that amass for the event, networking is key. “I like to get my artists connected with other galleries, artists like Dasa and Matt, who is on the beginning path.”

Matt Neuman described the week as a cross-section of contemporary art, and was thrilled to see how his own work held up against work spanning all styles and nationalities. The chance to exhibit alongside internationally acclaimed artists, coupled with the sheer expanse of displays to view, the masses pouring into Miami and the balmy weather made for an exceptional experience. If given the opportunity, Reische assured she would accept an invitation for Basel Week 2009.