Monday, January 14, 2008

Spacefarers of the Expanse, Tony Baker, January 10 - February 16, 2008, Harcourt House

Image credit: Tony Baker, 2007

“There’s lots of ways to die.” That’s the sentiment shared as viewers are propelled into Spacefarers of the Expanse, a gallery sanctioned Choose Your Own Adventure exhibition currently in Harcourt’s front space. Navigating through Baker’s world of Gordions, Gibs, and Molvins, the explorers of the Expanse faces many of the same problems found elsewhere in this galaxy. The constant need to trade, to fuel, lookeys dominating the planet of flat-arte, and having to start time and time again from where you began, this universe of unabashed nerdom is at once a hilarious and darkly isolating, pessimistic and paranoid place.
Executed in raw, elementary drawings tacked onto rudimentary backings, each image is almost worthy of trading card status (were it not for the odd jutting nail and creased borders). The much-welcomed move to exhibit in sketchbook fresh results suits the subject matter far better than the heavy burden of previous frames and canvas. Half spontaneity, half highly coordinated organization, Spacefarers can be read as some predeterministic rendering of our doomed humanity, but for now, Baker has deftly disrupted the side-to-side gallery viewing experience with an extremely intricate narrative that returns to some basic primitive notion of fun with art.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Okay, I went to see this show because I was very impressed with the similar show by Baker at Lattitude 53 about a year ago. That show was great - this show seemed liked Baker was just trying to make money off it.

I am beginning to respect the work that Lattitude 5 does, they take risks and show work that is fresh and timely. Harcourt's programming is so hit and miss and it really shows that Lattitude 53 is a class act and without peers.