November 19 - December 13, 2015
Barbara Baer and Sally Elliott
Baer and Elliott have paired to create site specific exhibits within each of the spaces occupied by Spark Gallery over its 36 year history. This temporary installation features an aerial work combining drawing and sculpture and an eighty-foot long collage, both developed over months of collaboration. Speaking of the collaborative process, Baer comments, “When you’ve been doing what you’ve been doing in the studio for a long time, it’s really hard to lay that down and leap into another artist’s mind. But trying something you’re not sure about is what keeps art alive.”
Because the two artists have evolved over decades in very different directions, many early studio sessions were spent negotiating common ground. One discovery was their shared technique for hunting visual ideas. A long history as working artists made their own past inventions a rich resource for new design. Plans for one wall in the gallery incorporate seventy-four images reflecting studio views from Baer’s own worktable.
Another shared emphasis was exploiting the volume and surfaces of Spark Gallery itself. The gallery’s ceiling, walls and floor all provide connection points for the art. Baer says, “I wanted to create an artistically charged space the viewer can inhabit. I want viewers to sense the space as concretely as they sense objects.”
One focus is a trio of transparent plastic planes that carry blown-up images of the human heart, painted by Baer but sourced from Elliott’s work. Across the surfaces, Sally has hand-drawn lines in black to show the details. The structure is held in space by recycled medical tubing that has been painted red and falls loosely on a white circle on the floor. On the opposite wall is the dazzling imagery of Elliott’s five-part painting in gouache. Adjacent are three smaller paintings that assert her appealing, vibrant color and disturbing, subtle content.
In the North Gallery