Skidmore Contemporary Art presents two exhibitions…”Stacks” featuring the art of Brighton Smith and “Tonality” featuring the art of Robert Baker.
Brighton Smith’s “Stacks” are meditations on the deep connections in our society between art and fashion.
See image: Bay Area Figurative, 2015, oil on canvas, 48″ x 24″
His typical format features piles of coffee table books on the history of art, style and culture. They are usually topped by an iconic fashion statement—a high heeled shoe by a famed designer such as Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, or Christian Louboutin. The juxtapositions are witty, provocative and capture the universal appeal of fascinating art and extraordinary design.
Smith began painting the stacks as an evolution from his previous fashion paintings which featured groups of folded shirts and hats. Having a deep interest in art history, it was natural for him to turn to his personal library of art books. As he began to arrange his compositions he sought clever juxtapositions of subjects and themes. Some stacks are about the wide allure of a certain style or movement in culture. Others are a blend, reflecting a voracious interest in the overwhelming variety of our shared visual culture.
Smith refers to his designer shoes as “toppers.” When searching for an object to complete his stacks of books, he looked into his wife’s closet and found the perfect solution. Designer shoes are fashion’s most popular—and often most expensive—accessory. While many women complain of discomfort, they still swoon over and covet the most beautiful examples by our best designers. These objects have attained a special status in our culture and often seem magically transcendent. Like the star on a Christmas tree, these iconic shoes function as a quasi-religious tribute to fashion, style, and art.
Richard Baker lives in Los Angeles and La Quinta, CA. Although best known for his long and successful career in the entertainment industry, Baker has found time in recent years to finally pursue his lifelong passion for painting. The training Baker received years ago as a student at the University of Pennsylvania from the renowned realist painter Rackstraw Downes influences the technical qualities of his painting style today.
See image: Hamptons Bike Ride, 2015, oil on canvas, 18″ x 24″
Richard Baker has a distinctive, sophisticated painting style. His subject matter is fresh and uplifting, and he demonstrates a skillful handling of form and color characterized by his interest in light, shadow, and geometry.
Baker’s motifs often depict outdoor leisure activities in California such as a baseball game in Anaheim, stand up paddle boarding, golfing and architectural tours in Palm Springs, the BNP Paribas Tennis Tournament, and even the Coachella Music and Arts Festival. His choice in subject matter reflects his personal lifestyle and interests.
On view: October 24 – November 22, 2015
What: Opening reception
Where: Skidmore Contemporary Art, Bergamot Station 2525 Michigan Avenue, B-4 Santa Monica, 90404