The Elizabeth Harris Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of paintings by Brett Baker. This will be the artist's first exhibition with the gallery. The show will be up from January 4 to February 2, with an opening reception for the artist on Friday, January 4 from 6 – 8pm.
From the text that accompanies the catalog for the exhibition Jennifer Samet writes:
Brett Baker moved, in 2003, from a huge studio upstate to a tiny New York City apartment. He had made large-scale paintings and installations before beginning this body of work, which ranges from small to miniature in size. He still wanted to make large paintings, but couldn't, until it occurred to him to attempt making "big" small paintings. Duration replaced size – he resolved to work on them until they lived up to the larger works. They are dense, thick with years of oil paint, abstract matrixes of interlocking marks, rows of vertical and diagonal dashes. The color chords are not traditionally lush or beautiful. They are olive greens, reddish-browns, dark blues and purple – but somehow never murky. We see beauty more than the weight of application. We do not sink into these paintings: the sensation comes off from the surface. It is this quality that is central to Baker's work: the suspension.
The artist recently wrote about his paintings:
"In my work, the application of paint is universal in that it could be left by any hand. Yet, subject to repetition and scrutiny, mark and color are gradually calibrated to achieve a unity and visual complexity. Time is essential to this process - a single painting may take years to overcome the universal and achieve individuality. Over the last decade, I have embraced a dramatic shift in scale. My work has evolved from near mural size paintings to miniatures while maintaining an otherwise similar visual language. Although leaving behind the expanded visual field inherited from Abstract Expressionism, I have attempted, nevertheless, to preserve and condense its energy. My most recent work investigates the possibility that by focusing the field, miniature abstract painting can carry the tradition of heroic abstraction into a truly personal and portable (and perhaps utilitarian) realm."