Jimmy Baker, Revisited

Jimmy Baker was featured on B/D in 2009 back when his work consisted mainly of realistically rendered portraits. Since then, his paintings have dramatically changed and, as of recently, moved away from direct representation – from photorealistic landscapes on slick resin coated surfaces from 2010-2011, to abstract figuration using oil and UV ink on canvas.

Baker draws from various contemporary media, mashing news, government conspiracies and political events with celebrity and social media dribble. His process of creating “synthesized content” is researched and extremely labor intensive; as described in an interview with Cincinnati Magazine:

“…you paint a rendering of a digitized sketch, then print a digital image over the painting, then paint the digital print that’s on top of the painting that is itself a version of the original digital image.”

His process sounds rigid, and induces one to envision a cold, obsessively constructed piece, but improvised, thick, painterly strokes contradict this notion.

The contents of the work appear identifiable in parts, but attempts to mentally construct from them a whole proves difficult due to the pieces’ alternating, detailed layers; the fleeting glimpse of recognition compels one to further inquiry.

Baker is represented by New Galerie in France and has exhibited at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Interview: Deb Sokolow

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Deb Sokolow creates a vertiginous world of invented narratives. Her large-scale, ink on paper installations are hung in a kind of methodized-madness that call to mind police investigations bulletin boards, a mad scientist’s chaotic formulas and revelations, or the bedroom of an obsessive-compulsive conspiracy-obsessed fanatic. Sokolow leads viewers into the tangled web of an information-saturated schematic, leaving viewers at once disoriented and exhilarated. Sokolow talked to us about her creative process and sent us a bunch of behind-the-scenes shots, including her “research binders” detailing subjects such as “Ghosts, Email Scams, Pigeons & Squirrels.” Full interview after the jump.

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Deb Sokolow

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Chicago-based illustrator Deb Sokolow is a conspiracy theorist. Or at least that’s what her work seems to suggest. Creating long, linear, installation-based drawings which look similar to the kind of thing your typical movie serial killer has on his wall, Sokolow pays tribute to the great American tradition that is the modern conspiracy. Her work always has a strong narrative, usually featuring a nameless narrator uncovering some kind of sinister plot; plots which may involve anything from office life to the government (of course) to gangster movies to Barbara Walters.