Mark Hachem Gallery-Beirut is delighted to invite you to “Sins, Virtues & Colors”, a long awaited solo exhibition by the Lebanese artist Ghazi Baker, featuring an eclectic body of works that touches on various overlapping and recurring themes inspired by contemporary life, popular culture and media.
As a manifestation of his state of being, Baker creates paintings that emphasize aesthetics through personal statements, a genuine and real connection into his thinking, process and influences. His art often engages with reality through an overwhelmingly mediated face. Allegory, humor and irony take center stage in his provocative and appealing artworks.
Ghazi Baker speaks to both 'high' and 'popular' culture, addressing a large audience. Whether personal or impersonal, humorous or cool, critical or affirmatively empowering, his works tackle issues that matter in today's world. Through sarcasm, provocation and seduction, he muses about the state of the human condition, engaging in diverse dialogues, ranging from consumerism, religion, drugs, sexism and the promulgation of female desire. Despite their ancient origin, sins continue to influence contemporary life, both individually and collectively, sparking discourse on the nature of sin and conversely, virtue and goodness. As such, prompting a visit to the human mind and condition, in a global community where sin is prevalent.
Baker's paintings often refer to mass or classical cultures. Not meaning to draw any conclusions or impose any points of view, but rather to uncover global flaws and contradictions that are part of human nature or maybe human curse. Using written or drawn symbols and idioms, he paints a world where light-heartedness rules and where rules are undermined.
His work is a clear response to his surrounding environment. Using every day experiences as a starting point, he captures and frames instances that could have otherwise been missed. Those moments as manifested on his canvases expose human drama, irony and ridiculousness that punctuate our existence. With his conceptual approach, he seduces the viewer into a world oscillating between the fragile equilibrium of the real world and the world of fantasy.
Baker approaches a wide scale of subjects in a multi-layered way. Deconstructing his own accomplishments, sometimes years after he completes them, he paints on them again as if they were new canvases. He re-layers, strips and re-exposes hidden layers along unadulterated black lines involving the viewer, while investigating the process of expectations.
In certain instances, Baker's art radiate a cold and latent violence, displaying a disconcerting beauty.
In other instances, colors and lines convey mixed emotions creating uncertainty and bewilderment.
The inherent visual seductiveness and the conciseness of his lines add to the complexity in the interpretation of the manifold layers embedded in his canvases elevating the viewer’s perception to a higher dimension. In both conception and content, the most important feature in the artist's work is his celebration of today's world, with its complexity and contradiction, its sins and virtues, in colors.
About the Artist
Ghazi Baker (1967) is a self-taught artist drawing on the aesthetic discipline of a practicing architect. Since his early teens, he has been learning and intellectualizing in a constant state of communion and renewal with the world around him. He has been painting for over 15 years but only recently agreed to have his art shown and acquired by the public. In the short time his work has been available, it already hangs in numerous private collections.
Born in Beirut in a multicultural family with an Iranian and Armenian heritage, Baker was raised during the Civil War years. In his youth, he spent some time in Europe where he cultivated a love for art, travel and adventure. An avid photographer and passionate bike rider, his trips, rides and photography have always been a source of inspiration and self-awareness.
Currently running his architectural practice and living in Beirut, Baker’s style could be characterized as an exotic cocktail of pop influences, solid lines, post-structuralist art, cerebral and deliberately anti-thematic. Always looking to highlight the process itself, his artistic influences include comic book art, music, movies, esoteric imagery, everyday life, nature and the human condition. His work is inspired by thinkers as diverse as J. Derrida, M. Foucault and M. Merleau-Ponty.