LYNN BAKER: Abstraction Verses Landscape

"I have to do both Landscapes and Abstractions. Choosing one or the other is not an option," states Lynn Baker who has been nationally acclaimed for both types of painting for the past thirty; years. "I have a love of making representational images, and I always have. I came to abstraction when I was in my 30s, and it was like walking through a door. It opened up means of expression that don't lend themselves to representational imagery."


Baker related, "When I started my abstractions, parts of the compositions included portions of landscape drawings and studies for other abstract pieces." Over time his works evolved so that the landscape elements gradually began to disappear. In his abstract works, the artist tends to work in series. "What I usually do is work from a representational idea-disassembling and reassembling it and moving it away from the representational." In works such as the evocative "Envelope" series the original idea of a letter or written communication has been supplanted by squares and rectangular forms. Over time the abstractions have become complex, mixed-media pieces incorporating pieces of fabric, colored paper and small wash and pencil drawings. Other series include "Dancing Angels", "View from the Bird", "Ghost in the Machine". In relation to his later "Envelope" series many of these earlier series emphasize pure painting and more intense coloration.


I started in school as a printmaker doing a lot of landscape printing. It evolved in time into a more formal type of landscape painting. More recently I am switching back and forth between my abstractions and my landscapes. I just have a need to work in both directions. I enjoy plein air painting because it is something I can do when I travel throughout the United States. I have works from the Virginia coast , the West, Southwest, Pacific Coast, and Alaska. To create these works I go out and paint on location and take these paintings and studies to my studio where I make larger and more involved works. There is nothing avant-garde about my landscapes. They are simply my personal interpretations and celebrations of nature."

Joseph E. Young,
Curator Emeritus
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Professor Emeritus
Arizona State University