THE ARTS COMPANY PRESENTS JOHN BAEDER: THE MAGIC OF ILLUSION AND REALITY: PAINTING AND PHOTOGRAPHY
First Saturday Art Crawl, October 6, 6-9 pm
The Arts Company on 5th Avenue of the Arts launches the fall art season with legendary Nashville-based artist John Baeder: The Magic of Illusion and Reality: Painting and Photography, a new photographic series by acclaimed painter and photographer John Baeder. The exhibit offers a rare opportunity for collectors and fans to view for the first time Baeder’s personal photorealist perceptions of still life tableaux center around tokens from his personal collections of memorabilia, with the classical painter’s north light lighting each scene. The exhibition begins October 6 during First Saturday Art Crawl, 6PM-9PM, and continues through November 16, during regular gallery hours, 11AM-5:00PM, Tuesday-Saturday. A special first-look collectors’ preview is scheduled during Collectors Art Night on Friday, October 5. The collectors’ preview event is free, but advance registration is required. Additional information is available online at www.theartscompany.com or by calling the gallery at 615-254-2040.
JOHN BAEDER /
THE MAGIC OF ILLUSION AND REALITY: PAINTING AND PHOTOGRAPHY
John Baeder's new photographic exhibition echoes the magic realist paintings he is most known for, his signature style as one of America's most renowned photorealist painters. It also echoes his personal passions for collecting all things related to American material culture, especially automotive and roadside-related. His vast toy and automobile scale model collection, his forty-five year study of anonymous hand-lettered signage, and his huge personal collection of roadside Americana photographs are but a small part of his quest for preservation of American iconography. He has taken this iconography to its fullest with his well-known paintings of manufactured diners, turning them into icons themselves. His diner paintings are treasured in major collections and museums here and abroad.
Jay Williams, art historian and curator of Baeder's four museum retrospectives, who has just written a biography about Baeder's life and art, notes that Baeder has had a "long term romance with the automobile and the culture it engendered.” While taking breaks during the demanding physical stress of painting, Baeder's work seamlessly took a new turn. Ferreting out imitation fruits, flowers, and vegetables—plus vintage books of biographical nature from his collections—Baeder began to create a new still life language, using photography as his medium. He wanted to create a "visual jolt", Baeder boldly suggests. He added scale model autos and trucks that were near and dear to him, thus heightening the concept of reality and illusion. "How did they get there and why?" Baeder asks, adding to the mystery of the resulting image, seducing the eye with these faux elements.
Baeder's interest in 16-17th Dutch and Spanish still life painters is evident. He uses a black background, noting that he uses only the north light in his studio to mirror his traditional painterly inspirations. "I'm the first photorealist to take painting back to photography as opposed to taking the photograph as a stepping off point for a painting," Baeder says with a hint of glory and relief in his forty-year career as a painter.
This exhibit at the Arts Company is the first time these photographs have been presented in a gallery.
ABOUT John Baeder—An American Original
Before John Baeder was of the age to drive, he would hop on his trusty Schwinn, traveling the back streets of his hometown Atlanta, GA, armed with a Baby Brownie taking snaps of vintage autos innocently parked on the street. Later, he would travel the pre-interstate Highway 29 from Atlanta to Auburn, AL, where the journey to and from school formed an unconscious impression on him with the various gas stations, motels, and eateries that would play out many years later in his paintings, photographs, and writings. He moved to New York City in 1964 as an advertising agency art director. On his free time from the grueling ad world, he continued to take photographs of anonymous hand-painted signage that began in Atlanta in 1962; intriguing store fronts; people on the street; and a new found vision of "temples from lost civilizations"--the manufactured diners themselves.
Jay Williams opens Baeder's biography in February 1972, when legendary art dealer Ivan Karp from O.K. Harris Gallery saw four of Baeder's "postcard series" paintings. He immediately offered him an exhibit to open the fall season. Baeder began painting full time. Thanks to Karp's instincts, Baeder's semi-autobiographical books on his paintings, post card collections, and sign photographs soon became an abundance of one-man and group shows here and abroad. Baeder became one of the most outstanding photorealists in the world, working in oil, watercolor, and etchings. Even bronze. In the fall of 1980, he made another big turn, returning to his roots in the south, taking up residence in Nashville, TN, where he continues painting and adding new dimensions to his past photography and to his new series of still life.
The recent momentum of interest in his photography has led him to create his inventive new series of dazzling still life that combine traditional painting ideas with new themes that have never appeared in his paintings. The result is a completely new approach that has taken still life photography to another level. Baeder has now discovered a new way of mixing his distinctive insight, skills, and experience in both fields into a magical elixir of reality and illusion. He has broken new ground, and remains the consummate original American artist.
ABOUT First Saturday Art Crawl
First Saturday Art Crawl, presented by 5th Avenue of the Arts, is a monthly visual arts event occurring in the historic entertainment district of downtown Nashville. On the first Saturday of every month, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., an alliance of art galleries and museums collectively invite the public to explore the vibrant Nashville downtown art scene. More than 20 art venues participate. Presenting local and world-renowned artists and artwork, gallery participants offer rare opportunities to meet and have conversations with the artists and to view diverse exhibitions featuring every genre of art. Admission free, First Saturday Art Crawl is a festive atmosphere with participating venues from 5th Avenue of the Arts to the historic Arcade to 8th Avenue to Broadway – all welcoming the community to experience Downtown Nashville as a hub for art. First Saturday Art Crawl welcomes approximately 1,000+ attendees each month.
ABOUT The Arts Company
Established in December 1996, The Arts Company has become an arts cornerstone on 5th Avenue of the Arts in Downtown Nashville. Known as a prime destination for fresh, original, and contemporary artwork in photography, painting, and sculpture, by artists from emerging to legendary, The Arts Company offers a distinctive Nashville experience in a welcoming environment of over 6,000 square feet in a historic building. The gallery website, www.theartscompany.com is available 24/7 for reviewing and previewing artist portfolios, gallery exhibitions and other projects sponsored throughout the year by the gallery. The Arts Company also maintains a series of partnerships with commercial and non-profit businesses and presents 12 inventive exhibitions a year beginning with First Saturday Art Crawl downtown every month. Information is available on the website, as well as regular entries on Facebook, Twitter, and the gallery Blog. Regular gallery hours are: 11:00am-5:00pm, Tuesday-Saturday.
THE ARTS COMPANY
John Baeder: The Magic of Illusion and Reality
Painting and Photography
First Saturday Art Crawl, October 6, 6-9 pm
The exhibition continues through November 16, 2012
The Arts Company
215 Fifth Avenue of the Arts, North
11am-5:00 pm, Tuesday-Saturday
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