CONTEMPORARY IMPRESSIONIST PAINTING
“For me, a successful painting is one that takes as much time to look at as it took to paint.”
THE WORK Veering between representation and abstraction, I try to keep the focus on the space between canvas and the brain, and let imagination do its’ job.
THE ACT I like looking at a painting as much as making it. Watching ancillary images emerge from quirky, disparate paint shapes is my idea of pure pleasure.
Humans read and construct meaning from the chaos of line and color so effortlessly. Sometimes I feel like my work can be a conduit for that process, coaxing the brain into vague recognitions, and then allowing those to reform into others, like a shifting banks of clouds.
THE METHOD I use almost any image, shape or color to get a painting started, then I just keep digressing, trying not to hamper the flow of the paint and the secondary images that ooze out of it. If the painting gets too tight or precious, I stop, scrape it down and restart, or just grab another one. When the process is working, it's akin to automatic writing or shape-shifting. That's why I work in oil paint, and on several canvases at a time, and never really finish.
THE EFFECT These paintings are meant to be protracted entertainments, more like movies than static images. Ideally, they should take as much time to look at as they did to make.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Born, lives and works in Oklahoma City
Something of an autodidact, Rea Baldridge's boundless curiosity led her to explore practically every medium available to her. She was frustrated early in her development with what she naively perceived as the inadequacy of painting to satisfactorily express her ideas, so she found herself exploring more integrative art forms. Then, a series of fires, bombings and other mishaps obliterated most physical evidence of her early work. Of course, these traumas reinforced her hesitancy about object-making, but they also informed her subsequent conceptual pieces, in which she employed the healing power of humor to explore the nature of loss, impermanence of objects, and the fragility of memory.
Both funny and profound, this work is comprised of a myriad of idiosyncratic and inventive projects incorporating elaborate performances, unconventional film constructions, communal amusements and digital pranks. Her art is well informed by all the relevant and irreverent art movements of the twentieth century, but is the product of her own unique and vivid perceptions.
In 2009, Rea returned to making paintings and all the influences and inspirations of her personal journey are evidenced in her current work.
Ironically, this mature work manifests, in paint, the constructive/destructive cycles that caused her long ambivalence to object creation in the first place.
"Usually, when I'm introduced as an artist, I find certain assumptions are made about what I do... painting? sculpting? And I say 'yes". Because I use whatever suits the Idea I'm working on, and I'm not averse to trying anything. My current conceptual work is to turn myself into a real painter! I have spent 10 years on it so far, and this project will probably take the rest of my life."
ART NOW Biennial Exhibition
Oklahoma Contemporary, OKC, OK
Lindenwood College, St. Charles, Mo.
The University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Contemporary Art Foundation/Warehouse Theatre, (CAF), OKC
MAY 2022 / LIGGETT GALLERY, Tulsa, OK
AUG. 2023 / JRB Gallery, OKC
ART NOW Biennial Exhibition,
Oklahoma Contemporary Art Center
Rea was honored to be included in the first Biennial Invitational, curated by Helen Opper.
JRB Galleries, Oklahoma City
Rea has enjoyed biennial Solo exhibits and exhibited in tandem with husband,
Joseph Mills' Photographs since 2009, and has participated in some themed events as well.
Information regarding conceptual works, performance, film, digital productions,
including exhibitions of painting, drawing, prints and other work prior to 2009
can be made available upon request.
Rea is affiliated with, and has exhibited at:
OVAC (Okla. Visual Artists Coalition), Oklahoma City, OK
Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, Oklahoma City, OK
IAO (Individual Artists of Oklahoma), Oklahoma City, OK
Price Collection, Bartlesville, OK
Stukkup Galleries, Oklahoma City, OK
Portland Center for the Visual Arts, Portland, OR
San Francisco Academy of Arts, San Francisco, CA
La Mammel Arts Group, San Francisco, CA
J.M. Curtis Collection, San Francisco, CA/Oklahoma City, OK
BFI, (British Film Institute), London, Beaconsfield, UK
CAF (Contemporary Arts Foundation), Oklahoma City, OK