In his second show at Addison/Ripley, "Shining Invitation", a collection of oil paintings on panel and canvas, Christopher Baer continues his bold exploration of paint and color as an inescapable physical presence. More than twenty powerful recent works comprise this show, most painted during the last year.
For the show's namesake works, Baer introduces a central unifying element, deeply inscribed circles. As the artist describes them, "In language and metaphor, the circle speaks of rhythms, completion and perfection. It hints at the divine." The circle as a symbol and metaphor commands our attention and speaks of completion. In the artist's paintings, it is, at once, a spiritual symbol, a conscious design motif and an invitation.
This collection of work can be seen to visually and conceptually references such mid-mid-twentieth century abstract painters as Clifford Still who spoke to a similar aesthetic when he said "I want to be in total command of the colors, as in an orchestra. They are voices." and Robert Motherwell whose passionate, gestured forms soar off of his own thickly painted surfaces. Baer orchestrates his paints in symphonic display with big, bold gestures of paint often unified by the circle motifs. Brazen paint application barely occludes the pentimento of earlier layers. Combined with the inscribed rings, the artist's compositions or "voices" are confident and inviting, speaking to a common humanity and a fundamental bond. In addition, fans of the artist's earlier Palisades Series will not be disappointed as several powerful examples from that series are included in this new array of work.