Kim Baker's recent body of work is drawn from the classical theme of Memento Mori; and uses motifs such as flowers, birds and insects, which, historically, are said to remind the viewer of their own mortality of the vanity of earthly glory and pleasure. The artist weaves flora and fauna into magical, jewel-like landscapes that are a continuation from her 2007 Dark Gardens series.
Baker's paintings are based on a Romantic attitude, drawing elements from traditional painterly values whilst communicating a unique expressive quality with an intuitive and spontaneous approach to her work. Kim Baker often works over a previous painting, adding then rubbing back layers of paint so that the underpainting can be seen in part, which gives a sense of history to the works.
Her use of jewel-like colours against a sombre dark background gives the paintings a backlit quality, and the contrast of mark-making veers from subtle glazing techniques to broad, sweeping brushstrokes to create a dramatic stage set of landscapes and gardens.
Kim Baker lists influences as diverse as de Kooning, Caravaggio, Sickert, Howard Hodgkin, Ivon Hitchens and the 17th Century Dutch Masters.
Kim Baker graduated with a BA (Hons) Fine Art degree from Birmingham University. She has exhibited widely, including group and solo exhibitions and art fairs in London, Newcastle, Reykjavik and New York, and in 2009 she completed a residency at the Signy and Olaf Willums Art Foundation in France. Private and public collectors of Kim Baker's paintings include Birmingham University, Whitbread Group plc, Transition Gallery, Bow Arts Trust and Midland Arts Centre, and she has recently been commissioned to create eight paintings for the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Petersburg. Her work has been featured in Art Monthly, Time Out and S Magazine.
Kim Baker: Memento Mori is open to the public, by appointment only, from 2 December 2011 to 27 January 2012 at Opus Fine Art, Milburn House, Dean Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 1NR. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest in this exhibition.