Los Angeles

Jack Baker

Esther Bear Gallery, San­ta Barbara

There is nothing gloomy, morose or sordid about Jack Baker’s world. His paintings, vibrant with color, are joyous affirmations, filled with dazzling flower forms, charged romantic landscapes, all zest and gusto. These recent paintings are filled with the heady aromas and flavors of exotic places, India and Ethiopia, where he has taught, lived and worked. The im­pact of Baker’s strong spontaneous color is immediate. He instills a sense of living abundance and color excite­ment; there is nothing forced, strained or hidden. For Baker there will always be more beautiful flower forms, more esthetic surprises in landscapes and figures.

In many of the landscapes he fo­cuses on shifting light and he achieves scale by leaping into space from a multicolored Cubist foreground then sweeps into a space that moves end­lessly on and on. In Jai Mahal Palace, Jaipur, the rich color sequences and bold structured dimensions that build and augment the painting evoke a ma­gical pattern and atmosphere of Orien­tal richness and mood. In Addis in the Rain, he builds a monumental landscape with loosely drawn suggested forms and a serpentine movement that ascends and unites the towering moun­tains, filled with brilliant blues and greens.

Baker is a colorist who sets no limit­ations on his use of it to achieve any purpose that he desires. His elegant design, strong patterns, linear connec­tions and sequences emerge as cohesive integrated forms. He is an exhilarating artist.

––Harriette von Breton