18 Wooster Street
Splitting Twilight was an exhibition of new paintings by Kristin Baker. Baker continued to push the contradictions inherent in the genre of painting while simultaneously celebrating its history. The new body of work playfully remixed the legacy of landscape painting within a modernist structure.
Kristin Baker was bending painting’s seeming limitations. By emphasizing the materiality of paint through her built-up layers of troweled acrylic, Baker’s paintings approached other two-dimensional practices such as printmaking, photography, and paper assemblage. While upholding the power and dynamism of painting, Baker sought to create a third dimension in between many genres and hindered by none. Her compositions combined illusionistic and pictorial space as well as blatantly artificial forms and surfaces. Each mark and shape was created not by a brush but by an outline of torn tape. The final silhouette was filled in with paint, and when the tape was ripped away, a free-floating “gesture” or “mark” was added to the piece. These shapes were layered together to make forms and landscapes or scraped away to reveal the colors underneath. Layers of these joints created tufts, grooves, and corrugated surfaces that approximated collage or even the planar aggregation of 3D digital imaging techniques. Using scraping tools, Baker rubs, abrades, and smoothes until the surface was like an x-ray of the past.
Baker saw her paintings as mechanical, accidental, harmonious, raw, sophisticated, artificial, untamed, and organic. Bish Bash Rubicon and Quarries Plume at Desolation Row were initiated by the artist’s fond recollection of her favorite spots to sit and reflect. By selecting a place where thoughts can flourish and where the world was essentially at bay, Baker highlighted how paintings were both a place of nonverbal contemplation, reflective patience, and spontaneous visual cognition as well as objects that could evoke a specific time and place. The solitude of the artist’s studio and of the artist standing small before a huge empty canvas were evocative of the tradition of the sublime in painting; a solitary confrontation with a vast unknown other.
While previous works have explored evocative moments for the artist in art history form Titian to Duchamp, this body of work was less additive and more reductive, seeking out the vast spaces of landscape painting. Splitting Twilight highlighted the clashing confusion of the artificial and the natural in the oil painting tradition as it flies over a road, colliding with the countryside. Ocalatie Der Boomen employed a landscape structure like Cezanne’s bathers with arching trees and distant sky, but Baker’s irresistible blasts of color ignited the flat pictorial space. Lines of trees seemed both integral to the work as well as ectopically perverse, and transposed this ostensibly picturesque work into an uprooted, unnatural imitation.
March 8 - 11, 2018
We will present a special solo project by the artist JR.
Image: JR, Migrants, Walking New York City, 2015
April - May 2018
18 Wooster Street
76 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
Monday – Friday
10 AM – 6 PM
Tuesday – Saturday
Noon – 6 PM
The gallery reopens with People in April 2018.
+1 (212) 343-7300
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