2013-10-17 12:10:40 - Each week we focus the spotlight on one of our many emerging artists. Our aim is to help you discover and identify strong emerging talent, enabling you to enjoy their work as much as we do.
Kim Baker is an emerging artist living and working in London. She has been an artist for 20 years; she graduating with a BA (Hons) Fine Art degree from Birmingham University and worked as an art teacher before committing herself full time to her own art. Kim traditionally works with oils on canvas, exploring both abstract and figurative genres, whilst taking inspiration from nature and art history.
“I prefer to use oil paint as I enjoy the viscosity and richness of it. I find it a very seductive medium to use and because of the way I work (rubbing back layers and adding layers), I find oil a very malleable and forgiving material.”
Her recent work marks a move away from
the previous central floral motifs typical of her early work, which historically are said to remind the viewer of their own mortality, and of the vanity of earthly glory and pleasure. Instead, her current work, particularly the paintings in her most recent exhibition, Twilight, continue to celebrate floral motifs but explore playful, gestural forms suggestive of organic shapes, against a muted background. Through the use of gestural mark making they convey a sense of movement and unease. You cannot tell if these landscapes are set at dusk, night or day, giving them an imagined, underworld feel.
Kim Baker’s process of working is interesting, each painting has three or four paintings underneath it, she builds up the picture layer upon layer, the fact that there are prior brushstrokes lurking beneath the picture we see only adds to the sense of unease in her work.
“Usually I end up with 3 or 4 different paintings on one canvas each layer painted over and over. I often wonder what each painting would look like if I could x-ray it.”
Her working practise is undoubtedly evolutionary and this is important to Kim, she wants her work to take new and exciting directions and for the viewer to partake in this journey of change and evolution with her. A collector of her work once told her he felt connected to the work, he was able to walk into the piece and notice different elements in the work all the time, she loves the idea of her audience ‘walking into’ her artwork.
Italian artist Caravaggio, the Baroque paintings of Murillo and the landscapes of David Bomberg and Ivon Hitchens, are just a selection of Kim’s influencers. She is fond of the traditional colour palette found in Murillo’s work and the contrasting elements of light and dark that provide drama in Caravaggio’s work. Kim Baker uses this inspiration to influence her own work. The colour palette she uses is at first glance traditional but when juxtaposed with bright yellows, oranges and shades of red the dynamics are successful in stirring a wondrous sense of beauty and unease within each painting.
‘I want the viewer to feel as though something is about to happen but you’re not sure what.’
Kim now exhibits widely all over the world, including group exhibitions, solo exhibitions and art fairs in London, Newcastle, Reykjavik and New York, in 2009 she completed a residency at the Signy and Olaf Willums Art Foundation in France.
Private and public collectors of Kim Baker’s paintings include Birmingham University, Whitbread Group plc and Midland Arts Centre, and she has recently been commissioned to create eight paintings for the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Petersburg. Her work has been featured in Art Monthly, Time Out and S Magazine.
Kim’s work is being published in the new Thames and Hudson book, Nature Morte: Contemporary Artists Reinvigorate the Still Life Tradition featuring alongside world famous artists such as Damien Hirst, Marc Quinn, David Hockney and Gary Hume. It is expectant that Nature Morte will be released October 21, 2013.
For even further information about Kim Baker, take a look at our Interview with Kim Baker on our website.
Buy Kim Baker original paintings at Opus Fine Art, the home of contemporary art.