Ever since I first saw her expressionist book covers and jackets for Thomas Mann’s Black Swan, Simenon’s Aunt Jeanne, and the haunting image for Mykhaylo Osadchy’s Cataract, I’ve been a huge fan of Bascove’s visual voice. She always loved doing book work, “but my imagery was too dark for some people,” she told me in an interview for Innovators of American Illustration. “I was literally told by publishers that if they had jobs needing a dark vision, which was rare, they’d rather give it to a man — a man, they said has a family to support.” Of course, that didn’t stop her and her work was eventually in great demand. Around 20 years ago, she abruptly stopped doing illustration and began seriously painting. It wasn’t a great leap, in the formal sense, but for an illustrator to be taken seriously as painter has never been easy.
Bascove’s passion for bridgesheld sway for many years. Her expressionist details of everything from huge steel suspension bridges to small concrete pathways in Central Park add emotional power into structures that are both engineering feats and architectural beauties.
“Her canvases have re-energized and transformed our understanding of the city’s rugged industrial landscape,” wrote Richard Haw, ART OF THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE: A Visual History. “Painted in warm, bold lines, and with a sensuous attention to geometric form, Bascove’s canvases re-imagine the city as a voluptuous siren. And by imbuing the city’s muscular limbs with such feminine grace, Bascove has managed to out-Georgia O’Keeffe Georgia O’Keeffe. No easy task.”
Bascove has just launched a new website were these paintings are on view along with a portfolio of her recent collages, a decidedly radical shift in media, message and focus.