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Beverly Baker: Underlying Colors


  • LAND Gallery 67 Front Street Brooklyn, NY, 11201 (map)
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Opening Reception: July 13th, 6–8pm

Support for this exhibition has been graciously provided by Verbal Behavior Consulting, Inc.

LAND will exhibit a collection of Beverly Baker's drawings, in collaboration with Lexington's Institute 193 and Latitude Arts.

Bruce Burris and Crystal Bader founded Latitude Arts in 2001. Beverly Baker was one of the first artists to take part in their studio program, and she has worked there ever since.

Before joining Latitude's community, Baker worked at a paper shredding facility. She made her drawings on discarded, confidential documents she snuck home from work. She transformed prison records, tax forms, and mental health evaluations into explorations of line, color, and form. She also maintained a "studio" on a table at her mother's salon.

Every Baker drawing begins with a repeated set of letters and numbers. B, her initial, is the most common. Other letters and numbers may follow, and sometimes she'll use a complete word inspired by the magazines she keeps on her desk. She'll then apply intense, curved pen strokes to cover the surface of the paper. Baker's lines sweep across the page, arc upward, and veer to the right of the sheet. Her marks gradually obliterate the underlying letters and words.

Baker's drawings are primarily created with a single, black ballpoint pen. She may work on the same drawing every day for a month. As she fills the surface, patches of bluish hues, purple reflections, and deep reds appear. The many layers of black ink give the works a reflective intensity. The surface of the paper becomes burnished to a luminous and velvety texture.

Baker has a limited spoken vocabulary, but she remains devoted to language in her work. Her obsession with letters and numbers raises questions. Why does she begin every drawing with her initials? Why does she then obscure it beyond recognition? Is she using these signs and signifiers to communicate or is she fascinated with the symbols themselves?

Baker's goals remain up for debate, but her intense dedication to create remains steadfast.