May 21 — July 2, 2022
There is an abstracted beauty in destruction. Jeff Baker's photographs of charred timbers falling across a mountainous New Mexico landscape on first glance cast a gorgeous view of pattern, shadow and light. Closer inspection tells one that fires have wrought destruction to acres of natural wilderness, and reminds the viewer that all is not well. Baker's themes in this body of work tell a cautionary tale of what man has wrought with respect to climate change.
States Baker about the work, “In New Mexico, still in search of a more deconstructed view of the accuracy inherent in a photograph, I’ve played with abstractions that appeared in the Jemez landscape of burnt trees and mountain snow, within the living forest. These images are interspersed with more conventional landscapes to complete an essay linking the interplay between environmental collapse and our own pandemic disaster. The analogy of the fallen among survivors couldn’t be more stark.”
Jeff Baker was born in Dallas, Texas in 1952. He found himself in Gary Winogrand’s photography courses at UT Austin in the mid 1970s, listening to and being critiqued by Walker Evans, Lee Friedlander, Larry Fink and John Szarkowski among others, who came to lecture. Honing his craft through 35 years of editorial and advertising assignments, he continually worked on personal projects, including large-format ethnographic studies in South America and Indonesia, landscapes informed by the relationship of man to his surroundings, and still-lifes of industrial-age tools that reference the personalities of their inventors. His later work looks at urban encryption as a means of communication within a neighborhood’s core population and more recently, he has been abstracting those elements to concentrate on color, form and gesture, giving new life to those public communications. Baker lives and works in Taos, New Mexico.