BOSTON, MA (September 30, 2010)– Exhilarating speed, sweeping movement, and floating shards of translucent color are among the signature elements Kristin Baker incorporates in her paintings to capture the interplay of light, motion, and space. Four large-scale works by the artist, on view for the first time, will be showcased at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) in Kristin Baker: New Paintings, her first solo exhibition at an American museum. Presented from October 2, 2010, to March 27, 2011, the show launches the Museum’s ongoing exhibition series highlighting graduates of the past decade from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA), whose work is internationally known for its innovation and influence on contemporary art. Baker graduated from the SMFA and Tufts University in 1998. Kristin Baker: New Paintings is supported by the Museum Council Artist in Residency Program Fund. The Museum Council, MFA supporters between the ages of 21 and 45, endowed this program to promote direct engagement with living artists and their art at the Museum.
Kristin Baker: New Paintings showcases monumental works created by Baker in 2010 specifically for the MFA’s Community Arts and SMFA Gallery, a new exhibition space in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art. The artist visited the Museum earlier this year and her paintings respond to the Full Dawn Parallax, 2010, Kristin Baker dynamic qualities of light, volume, edge, and motion in this gallery adjacent to the Herb Ritts Gallery for photography. Both are located on the first floor of the wing, which was designed by I.M. Pei in 1981. Baker is known as much for her artistic process as for the distinctive work she creates. Although her paintings have a spontaneous quality, her execution is carefully planned and sequenced.
The artist’s non-traditional approach favors plastic on plastic in place of brushes on canvas. With palette knives and squeegees in hand, she glides fast-drying acrylic paints across slippery sheets of opaque PVC or clear acrylic. Some areas are masked with tape as an outline for straight lines or ripped edges. With these mark-making methods, she layers combinations of matte and gloss paint in more subtle or vibrant hues. Her resulting images explore how differently natural and artificial light might reflect and define flat and deep space. Baker builds abstract, almost sculptural shapes for a «collaged» effect that creates the illusion of light as it bounces or is absorbed, surfaces that recede or advance, and spaces either shallow or deep, all with a sense of tension in balance. «These paintings are really about light and materiality, the balance between mark and image,» explains Baker. «They explore different types of light: artificial, natural, processed, and a combination of the three.» The focal point of Kristin Baker: New Paintings is Full Dawn Parallax (all works 2010, Courtesy of the artist and Suzanne Geiss Co., New York), measuring over 9 x 8 feet, and 15 inches deep and made on clear acrylic with a powder coated aluminum frame.
The painting echoes the physicality of its surroundings–the curved lines of the balcony above, the sunlight pouring through the rectangular glass ceiling, and the hard edges of the wing’s soaring concrete beams and columns–capturing the essence of the gallery space below. The ebb and flow of light over the painting, and changes in an observer’s position when contemplating the work, evoke an abstracted sense of «parallax» as observed from up close, the side, above, or at a distance. Next to this painting, and across from the Herb Ritts Gallery for photography, is Within Refraction, a work on opaque PVC (measuring 6 x 10 feet). For this piece, Baker layered lines of charcoal a