Becoming Encounters | 5-50 Gallery LIC
October 11 - November 15, 2018
A lively crowd mingles, spilling onto the sidewalk as the early autumn evening is broken by dancing light patterns, pulling bystanders into the intimate cavern that comprises 5-50 gallery in LIC.
Becoming encounters is in effect a “live” composition, with light and moving shadows actively re-defining the intricate textures and sculptural elements of the exhibited works.
“In her exhibition at 5-50 Gallery, Chellis Baird presents large, complexly woven abstract paintings and sculpture alongside interactive light installations by new media artist Alida Sun. The visceral quality of the woven work, juxtaposed with Sun’s algorithmic creations emphasizes both artists’ gestural forms through experimental dimensions.”
Baird’s work strikes a note with me personally because of the movement in each composition. Her pieces have an organic energy to them, as though the elements had shaped them or they had come about naturally like roots and webs and many stories working together to tie themselves into growth with an effect that speaks of time not just substance.
It’s all too easy to loose yourself taking in the textures - so difficult not to touch because there’s something very compelling about the details, satisfying on the eyes like watching paint dissolve into a glass of water… just short of unsettling, the irregularity of pattern and contrast of elements keep your gaze roving.
Each of Baird’s works stands alone but this exhibit has the feeling of an installation as you experience the pieces together making it an ideal showing to familiarize yourself with the artist.
5-50 Gallery is located just off the 7 train and tucked into that hidden pocket of Long Island City where good food, bars and vintage offer Williamsburg a run for its money.
works on display at 5-50 Gallery:
“Baird paints fabrics with a process called Encaustic Monotype. Encaustic is one of the oldest forms of painting, first discovered in the ancient tombs of Egypt. She also pays homage to the history and process of painting; in Impression she uses the same elements as a painting: fabric, wood, staples, paint. Baird takes ownership of every element, even using the stretcher bars as brushstrokes in the composition. Impression’s gestural quality suggests a surrendering to a past action and accepting the truth seen in the shadow of an imprint.
Baird views texture as an embodiment of the earth’s surface from people to vegetation, architecture to impressions, and echoes to waves. As a creator of texture inhabiting the shadows of our lives she exaggerates her brushstrokes to magnify her vision and shift perspectives. Between breathes beneath a multi-planed surface created from masonite and wire, while Blind references window blinds carefully beaming.”
“In other works, Echo and Vortex draw on another gestural quality of a spinning vertigo. Echo is built with diagonal stretcher bars composed in a turning gesture while also wrapped and woven in a linear path. The geometric weaving and frame force the eye to move in a contrasting organic circular path.
Quake emphasizes the two contrasting themes in each work: the organic versus the geometric. Pushing the boundaries of the two themes lead to a sculptural form challenging her use of negative space. The light installation performance created by Sun paints another layer of untouchable texture vibrating the woven form.
Hot Wired has been displayed at the Google headquarters in Manhattan. Challenging the Google employees to break away from the computer screen and indulge in raw material, the woven painting pays homage to the original computer programming that was first created from a jacquard loom. The piece was also recognized by dance choreographer Roberto Lara, inspiring him to create a dance performance for the Louise Nevelson- designed Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church in New York.”
More about the artist:
“Baird holds a BFA in textiles from Rhode Island School of Design and over ten years’ experience sculpting the human form in fabric as a fashion designer in New York. Her innate passion for creating is deeply rooted in the landscape of textiles from her hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina, which is still known as a textile-centric place. Baird believes craft is one of the purest forms of Americana, and as an American Artist feels these aspects of her personal and cultural past deepens her practice.”
You can follow the artist Chellis Baird on Instagram.