In her solo show “No Regrets” at ODETTA, Nancy Baker created intricate constructions which reflect her need for reliable reality through a rigorous process of interweaving mathematical data and text from the US Constitution into interlocking elegant forms.
In addition to her ongoing use of mathematical constructs such as Pi, and the Golden Section, Baker seizes upon current political anxiety by employing text from the US Constitution. Her work underscores a desire for definitive certainties in an era of “alternative facts”. Intermixed within her constructions are additional phrases which seek to undermine the authority of “No Regrets”, such as “Fewer Answers”, “No Illusions”, “Some Ideas”, and “Little Idea How”. In claiming a definitive confidence, Baker sees consequences of hubris which reflect a complex personal lifetime of shifting doubts.
For “No Regrets” Baker created a new major installation, in which she re-imagines ubiquitous commercially available paper drink carrying-trays as eccentric participants in her elaborate constructions. She reconstructed these paper pulps to recreate forms that strangely reflect the Baroque sensibility inherent in the original product. Overall her paper constructions combine digitally printed, hand and laser cut geometric shapes that are painted, sprayed, scraped and gouged. Incorporated into these paper, polystyrene and Dura-Lar sections are glitter, paint, modeling paste, gold leaf, printed commercial matter and recycled paper pulp forms.
Baker’s relatively recent return to New York City has impacted her work in significant ways – the urban environment has made her sensitized to the dominating forces of infrastructure, especially attuned to interstitial spaces that arouse wonder and anxiety daily. The competition for space and sky has been instructive – her work reflects this struggle by recreating the battlefield in the studio, attempting to tame it, and ultimately own it.
In Baker’s work, there is solace in the playful geometry of fundamentals, paired with the ephemeral nature of paper, and its ease of mobility, which allows her to create large scale constructions. Through the process of accretion, she can build very large installations that are multilayered, and can significantly project outwards. Her chosen literary tropes signify a contemporary fear and suspicion that perhaps the enemy is invisible and unaccountable.
Do not miss Works by Flat File Artists at the back gallery:
The exhibition runs through April 8, 2018
Artist’s Talk: Sunday, March 25, 3 pm
ODETTA 229 Cook Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206