Richard Baker is a quotidian painter. With a mimetic quality of both stillness and motion Baker’s work reveals and studies the vestiges of the temporal. In his exhibition Views From a Various Field Baker visits the everyday and yet asks the viewer to contemplate what it means to engage with the liminal space that exists between two and three-dimensional space.
Since the early 1980’s as a resident at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, Baker has maintained a studio practice in dialogue with the history of painting and of objects. With an acute sensitivity to the material of painting and Trompe-l’oeil renderings, Baker’s compositions create a complex spatial logic. Reoccurring themes in these compositions work include, book covers, mass produced ceramic objects, children’s toys, plastic fruit, light bulbs, empty chairs, vases- all objects of the everyday, of past and present. Objects act as a stand-in, a psychological anchor in an environment that is dissolving and materializing, disappearing and emerging again. All the while, these objects and images are in flux, remaining in dialog with the notion of a vivid and stable picture plane and terrain between fact and fiction.
Views From a Various Field features a work titled, Journey, a series of small gray-scale paintings made from locally sourced images and artifacts culled from a personal archive. Just as Picasso and Jasper Johns worked in black and white as means to pair down and focus visual information to it’s most essential forms, Baker uses this strategy to the same end while also interjecting an introspection and stillness that allows us to approach the images as one would approach a memory or a mirror. The subdued palette elicits a constant recollection while also creating a space of familiarity and fragment where the viewer is asked to be a participant in the work.
Richard Baker ( b. 1959, Baltimore ) received his MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He has since shown his work consistently throughout the US and has received numerous awards and fellowships. Most recently he was the recipient of grants from the Pollock Krasner foundation and from the New England Council for the Arts. He is also the recipient of a fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and his work is held in numerous collections including the Museum of Fine Art, Boston and the Contemporary Museum in Hawaii.