New paintings by Brett Baker
October 29 - December 17, 2022
Elizabeth Harris Gallery
529 West 20th Street, New York
Tuesday – Saturday 12-6 pm
or by appointment
The Elizabeth Harris Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Brett Baker titled Profusion. This will be the artist’s fifth exhibition with the gallery. The show will be on view from October 29 – December 17.
In this new body of work Baker continues to investigate the potential for perceptual phenomena to enliven abstract painting. Baker challenges his visual language, grids of repeated vertical and diagonal mark-making and rich color, to articulate a fulsome experience of nature. In each work, discrete marks converge and abut one another, coalescing into shapes and patterns informed by landscape. As a result, a tension develops between the self-ordering of the grid and what Renoir referred to as the “irregularity” of nature. Even as irregular perceptual input deforms it, the grid reasserts itself as an organizing principle, morphing from an empty scaffold to a creative force within the painting. Ultimately the deformations and re-formations arrive at imaginative structures that evoke the particular complexities of light and form found in the landscapes that inspired them.
After two decades of making smaller-scale works, Baker’s new paintings investigate these concerns on a larger scale. The show centers on a new large canvas, titled Profusion, for Valéry (2021 – 2022). The painting’s dimensions match those of a picture window in the artist’s home from which he made sketchbook drawings continually over a two year period. Fields of marks provide an impression of the glittering light and saturated shadows while shifting shapes within the field echo specific foliage. The whole picture functions as a sign of a cumulative physical experience of a particular view of nature.
Baker’s recent work reflects his deep interest in impressionist painting – the later Monet, Pissarro, and in particular Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party (1880-81). This group of paintings also renewed and deepened the artist’s connection with the poetry of Paul Valéry and Wallace Stevens. The title of the exhibition, Profusion, a word employed by both poets, connects Baker’s interest in invigorating abstract painting through contact with nature and to themes in each poets’ work where formal structures that appeal to the mind are confronted by profound sensory experiences.
Brett Baker lives and works in Raleigh, North Carolina. He earned 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 Criterion, Two Coats of Paint and many 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 about art.
Elizabeth Harris Gallery is located at 529 West 20th St., 6th Floor and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11-6pm.
For further information contact Miles Manning at 212-463-9666