Selected works by Kristin Baker

Kristin Baker
Kurtoplac Kurve

2004

Acrylic on PVC

304.8 x 609 cm
For Kristin Baker the act of painting is analogous to speedway racing: the dual pursuits for the pinnacle of excellence conjoining as parallel “coliseums” of chance and glory. Drawing relations to the commodified spectacle of sport, Baker’s Kurtoplac Kurve replicates the industrial design of the racetrack in its making. Rendered on panels mounted on a bleacher-like support, its curved structure mirrors a hairpin turn. Built up in a series of stencilled layers, Baker rarely paints with a traditional brush, but rather a combination of spray gloss and spatula sign-painting techniques, mimicking both billboard advertising and body shop finishes; her resulting abstraction draws reference to both modernism and consumer spectacle
Kristin Baker
Ride The Lightning

2003

Acrylic on PVC

259.1 x 304.8 cm
Kristin Baker’s Ride The Lightning uses abstraction as a parallel for action. Inspired by motor racing culture, Baker’s work conveys all the dynamism of this macho arena: greasy, dirty, violent, and infinitely sexy. Painted on PVC, her ultra-sleek surface exudes both power and breakdown. Embedding stylised and graphic forms within a grid-like pattern, Baker references both cubism and futurism. Each square containing the charge of a freeze-frame explosion, haloed by dispersing clouds of light and smoke, Baker captures the unequivocal sensation of a single moment as a lingering, reverberated energy.
Kristin Baker
Excide Batteries Beer a Sphere

2003

Acrylic on PVC

244 x 304.8 cm
Painted on PVC, Kirsten Baker’s Excide Batteries Beer a Sphere reworks the plastic associations of media spectacle with painterly flourish. Applied with scrapers and palette knives instead of brushes Baker’s colours slide over the ultra smooth surface in transparent blurs and crystalline shapes, conveying the thunderous energy of stadium sport with both jubilance and trepidation. Grounds of electrifying pink and green become devoured and tarnished by greasy greys and dark oily clouds, fragmenting the scene into refractive prisms reminiscent of the sanctified aura of stained glass.
Kristin Baker
The Unfair Advantage

2003

Acrylic on PVC

152.4 x 274.3 cm
Using formalist abstraction reminiscent of Moholy-Nagy or Malevich, Baker’s The Unfair Advantage updates ideas of technology and painting. Through carefully balanced composition, geometric shards of colour hover in freeze-framed motion, and diffused translucent puddles read as lens flare, explosions, and gaseous haloes. Balancing the illusions of hard-edged solidity and the weightlessness of light, Baker creates a spatial deception implicative of film or digital media. Working with industrial materials and sign painting techniques Baker’s process fuses artistic engagement with mass media asserting futuristic ethos.
Kristin Baker
The Raft Of Perseus

2006

Acrylic on PVC

255.3 x 406.4 cm (in 2 panels)
In The Raft Of Perseus, Kirstin Baker’s subject changes from car racing to Greek mythology, though the connotations to abstract painting remain the same: adventure and risk translating to the stuff of legend. Picturing Perseus’s banished raft thrashing amidst the raging sea, Baker’s work operates as an analogy for the loneliness and heroism of artistic pursuit. Rendered in the pastoral blues and golds of religious painting, Baker captures the essence of challenge and success with stylised flourish. The solid geometric beams of the raft float in contrast to the water’s organic currents and the translucent light of the sky, creating a sense of staidness in the turbulent motion.
Kristin Baker
Big Bang Vroom

2003

Acrylic on PVC

243.8 x 304.8 cm
Kirstin Baker’s Big Bang Vroom revamps the glamour of motor sport as a composition of eloquent design. Using the mimetic qualities of paint, greys smear and sputter across her smooth PVC surface replicating the burnt rubber of skidding tires and swells of tarry smoke. Baker juxtaposes these spontaneous gestures against the meticulous graphics of the abstracted car and grandstand, accentuating the tension between precision, control, speculation, and danger.

Articles

KRISTIN BAKER - FLAT OUT
By Victoria Keddie

I remember working at NASCAR one summer in Daytona Beach with my sister. The smell of charred rubber, beer, and white trash filled the arena. I never thought I would relive those memories in downtown Manhattan.

Flat Out is a show about fast cars, tight curves, and, explosions. Kristin Baker has created a full sensory environment. Walking into Deitch Projects, I was suddenly projected into the pit. Busted orange cones lined the lower walls leading into the main arena, where billboards towered above the marred remains of NASCAR and Grand Prix. I could smell the Castrol oil. Compared with the works displayed in Painting Report at PS1 last year, which were overshadowed by Al Held’s massive sci-fi landscapes, the paintings at Deitch demand to be reckoned with.

Baker is one of a group of geometrically and geographically driven artists delving into the explosion of form— Julie Mehretu, Franz Ackerman, and Matthew Ritchie all come to mind. In fact, one could place the paintings in Flat Out within a recent group show entitled Global Navigational System at the Palais de Tokyo this past summer. Baker navigates abstract geometries through her flattened and fractured translations of race car disasters.

Using race car driving as a direct connection to painting, Baker emphasizes the idea of control verses chaos. The press release claims that her work is a study of "how close one can get to over-stimulation without an aesthetic crash." Although the works themselves do not break any boundaries, in paintings like "2 Track Miles Per Hour," the stimulus is intense and ever-present. Staring at the colorful collage set off against a backdrop of shiny PVC, I was seduced. The works themselves project perspectival cues, thereby moving the viewer into a three dimensional space. But it is her layering of materials that make the paintings both multi-dimensional and illusionistic projectiles. With a giant explosion set bang in the center of the painting, I couldn’t help thinking of one of those cameras in the cars behind the accident, filming the disaster. The painting seems to emit an endless replay of the spectacle, the viewer serving as the commentator.

Source: thebrooklynrail.org


KRISTIN BAKER - SURGE AND SHADOW
By Roberta Smith

Kristin Baker's paintings strike the eye with a harsh and dazzling newness. But the eye adjusts and eventually is bored, despite the surfeit of thought, skill and art-historical asides.

These clever, ambitious mergers of Pop, Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism reframe painting in cataclysmic compositions that nonetheless feel overly prescribed and soulless. Each work explodes across the surface as across a billboard or movie screen, in insistent synthetic colors; acrylic, not oil; applied with trowels and squeegees, not paintbrushes, to PVC, not canvas.

The surfaces seem collaged together from slick, paper-thin, alternately jagged and straight-edged shards of the stuff, like 21st-century stained-glass windows. But the colors are actually smoothed on wet, in shapes determined by quantities of tape, huge tangles of which are visible in the poster announcing the show.

These pieces might be wildly Futurist versions of the resin paintings that the California artist Ron Davis was known for in the 1960s; their translucence makes it seem as if you could retrace their labor-intensive process shape by shape. Then you start to sense the carefully plotted spatial perspective in some of the explosions and recognize the famous precedents that are the basis for others. This makes Ms. Baker's enterprise all the more daunting.

'The Raft of the Perseus' is a high-gloss version of Gericault's Raft of the Medusa, minus the people. Surge and Shadow of the Secondhand Thrill is Delacroix's -Death of Sardanapalus,- also depopulated. Worn and Torn on the Offcoming, a vertical two-sided piece, recalls both Marcel Duchamp's 'Nude Descending a Staircase' and his 'Large Glass,' as well as a Renaissance deposition scene.

I was told that the show's centerpiece - a large curving billboardlike painting titled 'Flying Curve, Differential Manifold,' whose white-enamel-on metal scaffolding deserves its own show is an exploded version of the four seasons and was also inspired by 'Tu m, thought to be Duchamp's last painting.

As all this becomes visible, everything quiets down and falls into place because the images are basically photographic. They could have been made on a computer.

I recommend a series of small studies in the downstairs gallery, in which the production of the image doesn't become the main subject. Here Ms. Baker's interest in landscape and the sublime - as well as compositions by visionary artists like Arthur Dove - is available for the seeing, without being worked to death.

Source: nytimes.com