Los Angeles

George Baker

Landau Gallery

The changes that have evolved in Baker’s work since his initial showing at Landau Gallery in 1960 are of primary importance. The carefully composed metal structures have been endowed with a jewel-like richness of surface––polished refinements in brass, bronze, copper and aluminum. Baker has sensed and enlarged on the royal elegance and grace of art nouveau but has ignored the tiresome extraneous activity associated with that movement. The highly reflective surfaces employed here rely as heavily on the mirrored space for their aerial quality as they do their own undulating forms.

While never predictable, these forms are made even more aggressive through mechanization. Contrary to the customary uses of motorized sculpture, Baker allows the action only the most subtle of paces. In Triad 635 the three extended spheroids mounted on vertical axes rotate at varying speeds thus constantly changing the spatial relationships among themselves as well as their own individual shapes. Even more, the reflected images discerned within the polished skin are put to action as well, bending and twisting like ectoplasmic phantoms. When Baker masses his forms as in Mountain and Dome 632, he retains the same ethereal concept found in the others. Lines created through the over-lap of shapes seem to trace in the air rather than function as an identification of the sculpture itself. It is Baker’s newly accentuated awareness of the pliability of form and related space which makes this exhibition a pronounced landmark in his growth as a sculptor of pre-eminence.

––Curt Opliger