About

Brett Baker’s intensely worked paintings are characterized by an unusually physical interplay of drawing and color. He builds each painting over several years, layering and removing rows of vertical and diagonal marks of muted, intense color. Critic Jed Perl, describing Brett’s work, has noted, “Their tight­packed, elongated rectangular forms—which are invariably based on a rather simple grid—bring to mind some of the layered compositions of Paul Klee as well as some of the textiles of Anni Albers.”

Although relentlessly abstract, Brett’s paintings are meditations on his immediate surroundings. He employs observation to enliven and disrupt the expected regularity of the grid. The resulting paintings become dynamic, abstract environments infused with and energized by nature. The artist writes: “The question I’m trying to answer is how does one begin and end in abstraction and still realize a true and real impression of the world beyond the painting?”

Brett lives and works in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is represented in New York by Elizabeth Harris Gallery where he has had four solo shows (2013, 2015, 2018, and 2020). He has an MFA in Painting from Boston University and his awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship. His work has been featured and reviewed in The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, The New Criterion, Two Coats of Paint, and various other blogs and publications.

In addition to being an artist, he is the editor of Painters’ Table (painters­-table.com), an online painting magazine. He also writes frequently about art – recent subjects include Pat Passlof, Chaim Soutine, George Braque, and Nicolas De Staël.

Solo exhibitions

2020 B​rett Baker: The Beauty at Hand, ​Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York, NY
2018 B​rett Baker: New Paintings, ​Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York, NY
2016 B​rett Baker, ​Bottle Rocket, Fayetteville, AR
2015 B​rett Baker: Recent Paintings, ​Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York, NY
2013 B​rett Baker: Paintings, ​Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York, NY
2013 B​rett Baker, ​Waterworks Visual Arts Center, Salisbury, NC
2008 B​rett Baker,​ Simon Gallery, NJ
2008 P​aintings by Brett Baker,​ Socony Mobil Building, New York, NY, curated by Suzanne Randolph Fine Arts
2008 F​orms of Face: Recent Small Paintings, ​The Painting Center, New York, NY
2007 F​acing Color: New Paintings,​ St. Mary’s College of Maryland, MD
2007 T​ime & Text,​ Zhou B Art Center, Chicago, IL
2007 T​ime & Text,​ Ossia Fine Arts Space, Chicago, IL

Awards

2002 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship
1999 Juror’s Prize, Contemporary Painting ’99, Juror: Andrew Forge
’97-­9 Constantin Alajalov Scholarship, Boston University

Selected group exhibitions

2021 The One and the Many, Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation, New York, NY
2020 Front Burner: Highlights in Contemporary North Carolina Painting, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
2019 Varied State: Brett Baker, Ashlynn Browning, Holly Fischer, Juan Logan, Damian Stamer, William Paul Thomas, Whitespace, Atlanta, GA
2019 Low Light: Brett Baker & Jay Gould, Exeter Gallery, Baltimore, MD
2018 Bevel: paintings by Brett Baker, Casey Matthews, and Douglas Witmer,​ Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2018 Art at Kings Oaks,​ Newtown, PA
2018 Four Pillars, Full Circle,​ Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2018 Of Weight and Breath: paintings by Brett Baker, Susanna Coffey, Clare Grill, and Ellen Siebers, ESPS: East Side Project Space, Nashville, TN
2015 Colored Mud,​ Fenway Studios, Boston, MA
2015 Two Abstract Painters: Graham Auman and Brett Baker, Ravenscroft School, Raleigh, NC
2013 I​ndependents,​ Green Hill Art Center, Greensboro, NC
2013 T​INY: Attention, Exploded,​ The Carrack, Durham, NC
2012 Heroes, Small Black Door, Queens, NY
2011 Printed, Painted, Pressed, C2 Fine Art, St. Petersburg, FL
2010 Artists Invite Artists, Small Works, The Painting Center, NY
2010 New Walls/Fresh Paint, The Painting Center, NY
2009 Intimate Frontiers, Richard Stockton College Art Gallery, NJ
2008­-9 P​lacing Color: Paintings by Brett Baker, Kayla Mohammadi, and Carrie Patterson,​
Winona State University, MN (September 2009)
Boston University, MA (April 2009)
The Painting Center, NY (May 2009)
St. Mary’s College, MD (January-­February 2009)
Bristol Community College, MA (September 2008)
2008 P​eace, ​Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
2007 W​ar is Over, ​Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
2006 1​3th Anniversary Show,​ The Painting Center, New York, NY
2004 N​ature Abstracted,​ The Painting Center, New York, NY
2002 A​ward Winning Alumni 1995 – 2002: Guggenheim, Dedalus, Starr, ​Sherman Gallery, Boston University
1999 C​ontemporary Painting ’99, ​Juror: Andrew Forge, Erector Square Gallery, New Haven, CT
1999 Y​oung Masters: Recent Graduates from Boston University and Yale, ​Glass Mountain Gallery, Bantam, CT
1999 N​ew Models, ​808 Gallery, Boston University, Boston, MA, (catalogue)
1998 N​ational Competition, ​Juror: John Walker, Bowery Gallery, New York, NY
1998 E​merging Boston Artists, ​Juror: Carl Belz, Dante Alighieri Society, Cambridge, MA