One cannot discuss Chris Baker's work without acknowledging the medium – gouache - in which he works almost exclusively. Chris is a remarkable draughtsman, and the medium in its viscose state allows Chris to draw perfectly with his brush. It also gives an uncanny luminescence to his paintings. But the binding agent in gouache, Gum Arabic, is water soluble and, when diluted, can be applied almost as transparent watercolor. This allows Chris a considerable expressiveness in his paint application. His paintings work as a combination of depth and flatness, of deep luminosity and surface transparency, of drawn line and expressive freedom. As the artist states, his paintings are "about relationships: light to shadow, interior to exterior, the old to the new, and deep to shallow spaces." In the foundations of a painting or drawing, he imagines the piece as a "map" with an infinite number of directions and destinations. His role as an artist is to make choices and establish those associations.
An avid traveler, Baker often finds his subject matter in his travels, which are as wide-ranging as his stylistic effects. The painter's gaze may focus on the architectural intricacies of a door jamb, the geometrical lines of a street corner, or the grandeur of a historical monument. In the end, though, Baker's work is informed by a fundamental humanity.
Whatever the subject, we usually find evidence of man: a parked bicycle, a carefully arranged flowerpot, or a wall of graffiti. His paintings often convey the sense of a snapshot: a commonplace event frozen in time. A consistent theme running through most of his paintings is, in fact, the intersection between the past and the present: between the timeless and the everyday.
Chris Baker earned both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Fine Arts at Rochester Institute of Technology. His professional life combined work as an independent artist with a love of teaching. He retired from teaching in 2008 after 38 years as an educator. He has exhibited extensively throughout New York state, appearing in such upstate venues as the Finger Lakes Exhibition at Rochester's Memorial Art Gallery, the Cooperstown National, and the Schweinfurth Museum in Auburn. He has often displayed paintings at the prestigious National Exhibition of American Watercolors in Old Forge, New York, where he has received several awards and has been invited to sit on the discussion podium. The artist presently resides in Weedsport, New York with his wife Barbara.
Praying Monk, gouache on paper, 27 by 21 inches framed
Barn-Find, gouache on paper, 23 by 19 inches framed
Wise, gouache on paper, 33.5 by 21.5 inches framed
Corner Entrance, gouache on paper, 16.5 by 30.25 inches framed
Bus Stop, gouache on paper, 34 by 25 inches framed
Upper Falls at Letchworth, gouache on paper, 19 by 23 inches framed
Under the 'L', gouache on paper, 35 by 21 inches framed
Sink at the Tenement House, gouache on paper, 11 by 13 inches framed
Haarlem Archway, gouache on paper, 25.5 by 19.5 inches framedy
Lockport, gouache on paper, 19 by 23 inches framed
Light from the South, gouache on paper, 14 by 17 inches framed
Prices available on request