LAMA set the word auction record for any work by Vasa on May 15, 2015 with Tower (4) realzing $37,500.
About The Artist
The vibrant, abstract painting and sculpture of legendary Los Angeles-based artist Vasa Mihich played an important role in the art scene of post-war Southern California. His work is defined by its experimentation with the formal and perceptual properties of plastics, a material which inspired the direction of many other artists at the time, such as Larry Bell, Craig Kauffman, and Peter Alexander.
While Vasa is commonly associated with this so-called ‘finish fetish’ movement, these artists poured polyester resin into molds, thus creating a block in a single color, which modulates due to the changing thickness of the material. Vasa’s work, however, comprises cut pieces of pre-made plastic which have been laminated together to create geometric forms such as cylinders, spheres, and pyramids. These universal forms enable the artist to create an interplay between tone, light, and reflection. In an interview with LAMA he said, “The principle behind the constructions was to liberate the individual sections of color from the common flat surface of the painting and lift them into space, exposing them to the light in different angles.” His work is based on the concept of suspending color in space, resulting in objects that bear a closer relationship to painting than sculpture.
The artist was born in Yugoslavia in 1933. Prompted by a love of Abstract Expressionism, which he encountered on a visit to Paris, he decided to relocate to the United States in 1960. He eventually settled in Los Angeles, which has been his home ever since. Inspired by the pure abstraction of California Hard-Edge painters like John McLaughlin, his work from this time grew increasingly pared-back. He spent several years developing his oeuvre in isolation while working as a house painter, before he was invited to present a solo exhibition at the renowned Feigen-Palmer Gallery in L.A. in 1966. Vasa gained increasing attention when his work was included in the seminal exhibition “American Sculpture of the Sixties” at LACMA in 1967, a survey of contemporary art organized by influential curator Maurice Tuchman. He was offered tenure at UCLA where he has worked as a senior professor of Design for many years. Vasa also made an appearance in the famous 1972 documentary, “Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles,” made by the eponymous British architectural historian.
Vasa’s work has been acquired by several important public collections, including Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Art Moderne, Brussels; Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade; Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, California; San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California,UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, Los Angeles, California and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California.