Sunday, April 17, 2016

Brett Baker: Forest and the Trees

Studio Table, 2014-2015, oil on canvas, 14 x 24 inches
Studio Table, 2014-15, 14 x 24 inches

Things start to happen when you look at Brett Baker's paintings. Like entering a forest, we have to adjust our eyes to their light, to their terrain, to what's happening. At first we see the forest, then we see the trees, then we start to notice things.

Studio Icon, 2014-15, oil on canvas, 20 x18 inches

Things like movement. What's not moving, and what is. Maybe everything seems like it's moving. His paintings are like that. Then there is direction. A lot of it. Straight up, but sideways. Oblique, and off and running. Marshalled. We are all going one way, and then it shifts. Like wind on a wheat field. Like soldiers marching, like popsicle sticks side by side, but then something trips it up, messes up the order, things turn, they fork, they about-face, they pivot, they leak off in some other direction, spooked, or just contrary. Herd resistant. Maybe just one duck that won't row.

Night Table, 2013-15, oil on canvas, 7 x 5 inches

And they are moody. Rothko moody. And then they clear. We make a turn and find a clearing. Sunny and warm. But it is still all about the forest. Light in the forest. Shade in the forest. Exacting tone and temperature to the color. Thick paint. Juicy paint. Earthy paint. Ripples. Rippling textures. Tuned. Tuning. Generating light from within. Radiance of being.

Russian Novel, 2013-15, oil on canvas, 5 x 4 inches

"I just like painting," Brett Baker says, "making paintings, looking at them, sharing them..."

Night Table, 2014-2015, oil on canvas, 9 x 12 inches
Night Table, 2014-15, oil on canvas, 9 x 12 inches

It shows. This work stays close to the bone. Small canvasses. Intimate. Intimate abstraction. A feel for paint. The feel for paint. The poetry of paint. The poetry of abstraction. The simplicity. Patterns. Repetition. Deviation. The deviation, again, so pivotal. The crowd. The crowded field. Then the odd duck or two. The outsiders. Creating just the right amount of tension. Creating change. The flies in the ointment-- those things that are the irritation that sparks the pearl. The deviation that sparks diversity. That renews the blood. That sparks our engine. That gets us going. That makes our story. That makes Brett Baker's paintings.

Addison Parks
Spring Hill, 2016


Anonymous said...

always a great read! Loved the works by Brett Baker. Spent a good deal of time looking at a couple of them and letting them sink in. Ernest

Anonymous said...

It is thrilling to know that the paintings are communicating. Brett Baker