HIDING IN HIGH GRASS
curated by Heike Binger
1 Oct – 5 Nov 2023
The title metaphor of Mirjam Baker’s exhibition, named after one of her large colored pencil drawings, is based on an artistic utopia: the desire to virtually disappear into a world of color and line. As a painter and abstract filmmaker, Mirjam Baker intensely explores the infinite possibilities of color. Her solo exhibition at kuba Nettersheim is an invitation to embark on a journey into various techniques and media.
At the heart of the exhibition is her film “Dust,” made from hundreds of monochromatic pastels, which is now being shown for the first time in a German art institution since Baker’s solo exhibition in the tresor at Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien in Vienna in 2021. Those who immerse themselves in the nearly thirteen-minute, meditative film, accompanied by minimalist original music by flutist Angelika Sheridan, enter color spaces as if from a foreign planet.
“In the contemplation of color, aside from its immediate emotional impact, I’m interested in how spatial color is,” says the American-Austrian artist. “I wanted to know how far I could penetrate color with my eyes. Color field painting in its history used various techniques to represent color spaces. This is an experimental field where I add something. But in film, an afterimage is added: the colors influence each other in sequence, and that’s how the order of the sequences was determined.” In addition to the film shown on a monitor, some of the original pastels are on display.
But her colored pencil works and paintings also explore the spatial effects of color with the curiosity of a researcher. In the elaborate works created over days in colored pencil technique, the boundaries between drawing and painting blur. What is line? What is surface?
In the colored pencil series “Blossoms”, while the title brings the representational interpretation to the forefront, the small-format works are at the same time highly refined and enchanting abstract compositions. While these cyclical series of images still evoke the temporality of her film work, in the large-format painting “Singing a Song,” a dynamically lyrical color journey condenses into a masterful individual work.
As different as Baker approaches her central theme, color, through various media, they are all linked by the emphasis on emotional and spatial aspects. For the artist, the mystery remains: “Why does a color affect me in a certain way?” We each solve this puzzle in our own way. (DaK)