Ashley Bickerton

Sonnabend Gallery

In a kind of twisted echo of Gilligan’s Island, the ’70s sitcom chronicling the misadventures of seven lost souls shipwrecked on a desert isle, Ashley Bickerton’s latest paintings chart the misfortunes of a truly dysfunctional group of castaways set against an exotic backdrop inspired by the Indonesian terrain where he has lived and worked for the last three years. If Gilligan and his cohorts held tight to the trappings of civilization, inventing contraptions to ease their makeshift life and rarely mixing with the natives, Bickerton’s motley crew pass their days and nights not far out of step with the Stone Age people and sophisticated monkeys with whom they share their fantasy tropical isle. In Bickerton’s version of paradise regained, the laws of nature and those of culture are tied together to much more sinister effect.

Among the stranded “survivors,” there’s the dispassionately coupled

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