Trap and Snare is an ongoing series of pencil drawings on paper, which he started in 2013. Baker has currently produced over 80 of these drawings to-date and it is still growing. These drawings are essentially constructed man-traps, built using found or reclaimed objects and assembled in his studio. These sculptural forms are transformed by the medium of pencil into intricate depictions of temporary sculptures, suspended in a permanent state yet intended to trap or snare an ‘animal’. The term animal is used loosely as the human species could also be considered a form of animal and could equally be snared in these creations. This series stemmed from my research into the term ‘Vermin Culture’ and the many connotations that this could contain; from the primitive ancestry of the human species to waste culture and what we consider to be ‘vermin’ in the modern day. Many of the objects that he finds are items from a domestic environment which are re-contextualized within this setting to become items of entrapment, luring its prey with the promise of luxury whilst the state of the items hints at a more menacing and dangerous situation.
Baker’s main area of interest is the issues surrounding the relationships between humans and animals. In his practice he explores the idea of the animal as practitioner and how different species might shape, frame and make space in our everyday urban environments through methods of sculpture and drawing. As human beings, we believe that our urban environments are ours, but actually, these spaces are a much more complex environment involving many species whether they are domestic, wild, or farmed for their produce. Most of these animals contribute to our own survival, but when does a wild animal like a rabbit or a bird for example become domesticated? His practice has not only aimed on exploring these issues, but has also examined our own human fragility, by creating sculptures that are not only works of art but are also spaces for an encounter between species. “To consider the boundaries of what it means to be human rather than animal”(O’Reilly,2009,p.149.) is a quote he has used as a guiding principle in his work to address questions about the residual traces left by animals, looking at the spaces animals inhabit and turning them into sculptural forms.
Alan Baker is an artist based in Shropshire who specialises in drawing and sculpture. Having completed a MA in fine art at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2013 and a BA (hons) degree from the University of Huddersfield in 2012, he is now continuing his artistic practice at his studio based in the North West.