John Baker x Jameel Radcliffe
CLOSING SUNDAY, JULY 3
LaiSun Keane Gallery Presents Fragmented Experiences
John Baker x Jameel Radcliffe
June 3 - 26, 2022
LaiSun Keane Gallery’s June exhibition brings together emerging artist Jameel Radcliffe with John Baker, whose collage paintings have been shown with acclaim for over 50 years in New York and Boston. Bringing these two artists into conversation reflects the gallery’s commitment to not only champion young and underrepresented artists but to provoke questions on the emergence or divergence of various themes in contemporary art.
Jameel Radcliffe’s portraits are both deeply personal and otherworldly, with color, tone and abstracted backgrounds serving to express the bond and connections between the artist and his subjects. Jameel, a mentor and painter at Boston’s Artists for Humanity, works closely with young people from low income or underrepresented backgrounds, helping them realize their artistic strengths in the same program that introduced him to the arts as a teen.
“The relationship between recognizable imagery and abstract marks culminate into a work that more easily depicts emotion and inspiration I feel for each portrait.” - Jameel Radcliffe Artist’s Statement
John Baker, whose artistic career began under the tutelage of Donald Judd, exhibits new collage paintings where abstraction meets figuration, humor meets pathos, and creator meets his creation. Juxtaposed with Radcliffe’s youthful subjects, Baker’s works depict an almost world-weariness, while still sparking his underlying thesis, “the expression of inner life through imagery so novel that the impact is both intense and inescapable.”
“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.” - Shelby Barthelemy
John Baker is a prolific artist who began his career in wood sculpting under the tutelage of Donald Judd. Baker pivoted to painting in the 70s to expand his visual vocabulary and has been experimenting with painting and collage which culminated in his most recent exploration of surrealism. He received his BA in English from Clark University and both MA and PH.D in Art History from Brown University. He taught at Massachusetts College of Art and Design for over 30 years in the Art History department. He now maintains a full time art practice and studio in the greater Boston area.
Jameel Radcliffe is an emerging artist based in Boston. He graduated with a BFA from Montserrat College of Art, Beverly MA. Besides practicing art, Radcliffe is an educator at Artists for Humanity. He has exhibited at galleries in Boston and New York.
ABOUT LAISUN KEANE GALLERY
LaiSun Keane is a contemporary art gallery located at Sowa Art District in Boston with a focus on providing a platform for non-mainstream voices. The gallery was born in the Covid19 pandemic and has a strong focus on producing online content and new ways of art presentation and art sales. Our stable of artists consists of both local and international artists, and we mount eight to nine virtual and in-person exhibitions annually. We believe in growing our artists’ careers and make it an important component of our programming to participate in strategic art fairs in New York and Miami.
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