college of dupage courier

Mara Baker balances teaching + creating art, has two projects featured in galleries

Mara Baker, an art professor at the college is showing off her own skills at two different art shows this fall.

The first show is called Two Histories of the World and it is a sight-specific exhibit. A few years ago, she took part in a project where she and a group of artists were invited to make works using only materials found at William H. Cooper, a rundown factory. Sculptures and installations were placed throughout the building, making the entire space part of the exhibition.

Baker said, “A lot of people came to see the show and had very moving experiences with it. It was a memorial to the past century.”

The Salvation Army purchased the building soon after and it was demolished.

Baker said, “Work is ephemeral, [it] doesn’t necessarily last.” Now Baker has worked to recreate new versions of her work for the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago, for a new audience.

Baker said the group was “responding to works we made in the previous year” but that she “deconstructed the work and remade it in a different way.” She also said that it was very different this time around working in a “pristine,” white gallery rather than an old, abandoned warehouse.

There are not any pictures of the work online because Baker is interested in “what it means to truly have sight specific work that doesn’t show up all over the web.” She says the exhibit is “about memory, the memory of objects, the artistic process.”

Baker describes her art as belonging to the “in between, gray area between 2D and 3D” and that “blue tape, old packaging foam, and cardboard boxes are common material for me to use.” She used these kinds of materials to create her series of paintings in order to “use the same material language but within the form of painting.” She said, “On a deeper level, [the show is] our experience of living.”

This show is going to be open for 4 months from now until until January 6, 2013 at Hyde Park Art Center located at 5020 S. Cornell Avenue Chicago, IL 6061.

Her second show, called Rigoletto’s Curse, is also currently open. In this exhibition, Baker collaborated with a writer named Monica Westin with whom she exchanged sketchbooks.  Baker said, “Over the past summer we decided to really delve into how a writer and visual artist could collaborate in a process.”

She said the sketchbooks consisted of a “useful and productive dialogue using two different languages.” Baker created a body of small white panels and collages based off old record albums. “Her writing is directly about my work,” said Baker.

This show will only be open until November 1 at Trinity Christian College, Seerveld Gallery located at 6601 West College Drive, Palos Heights, IL 60463.

**Published in the College of DuPage Courier, 2012.

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