Los Angeles-based painter and sculptor Math Bass plays with visual language in a tantalising dance of forms and symbols. Operating in stylised formal vocabulary, her fat colours on raw canvas gesture towards Constructivism and Bauhaus, but fall shy of total abstraction; glyphs of ziggurat, crocodile maw or cigarette threaten to coalesce into an oblique dialect, wavering between sharp architectural graphics and recognisable icons of the everyday. In a hushed barroom palette, Bass pinpoints the tensions between discrete elements within a given composition and in our wider semiotic environs, creating shifting, dynamic relationships that probe our ways of seeing. In the present work, flower-like forms hover with a pair of smoking cigarettes in clean suspension, bracketed by opposing corners of cool pool-table green; the gathered elements hint at eyebrows, eyes and mouth, but do not submit to such easy combination. The smokes take graphic cues from ‘No Smoking’ signs as much as the suave sensual appeal of advertising. As the artist says of her images, ‘As they begin to come together, they also fall apart’ (M. Bass, quoted in H. Braithwaite, ’A New Way of Thinking: Introducing Math Bass,’ Modern Painters, 31 May 2015). Far from static, Newz pirouettes with the swift motion of engaged pictorial thought, posing a captivating optical enigma.