The works of Boston-based artists Jameel Radcliffe and John Baker in their two person exhibition titled Fragmented Experiences at LaiSun Keane from June 3 to 26, 2022 evoke emotion and question the true nature of life itself through their respective mediums. Figuration allows these artists to explore themes of personal relevance with authenticity being at the root of their artistic practices. Being teachers, the persistent search for the truth and the most impactful way of communicating this truth is only expected. While the use of figures unites the two artists, their approach to doing so differs and is unique to each artist. However, their works both encourage a humbling of the viewer. We are left to deconstruct the ways in which we think one is meant to interpret art and question the legitimacy of this gaze. These artists seek to remove any fluff that may take away from the purity of their expression and create work that speaks entirely for themselves. These two artists are placed in conversation within this exhibition thus highlighting the universality of this phenomenon to the human experience.
Emerging artist Jameel Radcliffe reflects on the web of interactions one creates within a lifetime. Through the representation of figures close to the artist, we are invited into Radcliffe's personal network providing us with an intimate understanding of the artist’s character. Abstract elements within these portraits allow the work to transcend the restrictions of a purely figurative painting. Being unique to each work, these elements engage with the notion that we as humans are a direct reflection of our lived experiences. These paintings are thus embodiments of a lifetime’s worth of emotions and lessons learned through a range of interactions. The uniqueness of each painting not only speaks to the uniqueness of each figure chosen by Radcliffe but also speaks to the unbounded and unpredictable journey we all endure internally catalyzed by our interpersonal relationships.
As an artist with over 50 years of experience, John Baker’s collage paintings are a reflection of the artist's progression and solidification of an artistic vision. Baker’s artistic practice is nonlinear in that the creation of these collage paintings incorporates consistent experimentation and the piecing together of elements that are seemingly disconnected. Unbound by any specific painting style, there is a sense of unlimited possibility in Baker’s works allowing him to navigate several different themes. Baker recontextualizes various painted components from found paintings into a collective collage painting thus creating work that is filled with intentionality and clarity. Through this meticulous process, Baker is able to visually depict the absurdity of life and explore the duality of the physical world and the subconscious mind.
Text by Shelby Barthelemy