“I’m not pushing the viewer, or even myself, to see anything in particular within a painting,” says Santa Fe artist David Baca. “I’m trying to find a way to paint that makes me stand back and just find this depth of meaning in the work that is undescribed.”
Tracing a single line through one of Baca’s architectural abstractions will lead your dizzying eye into the depths of an urban landscape, following what seem to be city streets or rising skyscrapers. Then you encounter a shift and your perspective suddenly changes; you’re now viewing the scene from above, floating across the tops of buildings as the streets below begin to recede. Blocks of color and open spaces continue to push and pull your eye across the canvas, and stepping back from the work allows you to simultaneously encounter these pathways from a single vantage point. “You can see my mind change many times within a painting,” says Baca. “I push the perspective forward, then shift it. I’m not turning the paintings 180 degrees; I’m turning my mind 180 degrees.”
For his upcoming exhibition, Black & White in Color, Baca continues his exploration of linear perspective through the removal and rediscovery of color. This practice allows him to reexamine the quality of line as he deviates from monochromatic themes to duotone palettes. Removing color reveals the infrastructure of his aesthetic through stark lines and simplified expression, while its explosive return widens the possibilities of emotion as each pigment calls for stirring reactions that vary from person to person.
Whether black and white or in color, Baca’s work maintains a common aesthetic true to his distinct painting style and artistic growth. Urban architecture and mans influence on the landscape are the most notable influences on Baca’s push-pull acrylic abstractions, but his work is truly a culmination of his experiences from New Mexico to New York City and back again (learn more about the span of Baca’s career from his artist bio.) His work maintains a balance between the vastness of the southwest and the collision of the city. Long horizon lines are interrupted by rising skylines as memories from different parts of the artist’s life flow together, naturally blending as they form his ever-evolving style.
Meet David at his opening reception of Black & White In Color at Pippin Contemporary on Friday, November 25th, 5-7pm. Read the full press release here.
Writing by Kelly Skeen, including links to press release, artist bio, and Facebook event. Images by David Baca.