ABOUT THE ARTIST

Early in her career Rea Baldridge saw painting as a limiting medium. She had a broader notion of the kind of art she wanted to make. So, when a series of fires, bombings and other mishaps upended her life and destroyed most of her early work, she was not entirely devastated.

Rea felt these events, in fact, liberated her to refocus on more integrated and intangible art forms, forcing her to think hard about impermanence of objects, the nature of loss, and the mutability of memory.

Thus began her immersion in conceptual work, in which she employed the healing power of humor to explore the meaning of art in her life as well as its’ influence on the broader society.

It was only later in this life of exploration that she has turned to painting once more as her primary medium.

Determined to revive and advance neglected skills, Rea, through hard work, focus and discipline, has managed to overcome her own perceived technical shortcomings, and earn that designation, “painter”, she had long ago rejected.

Acknowledged as a gifted and innovative artist, her works are widely collected and acclaimed. She has enjoyed many successful exhibitions as she continues to develop and test her skills in a medium she once thought limiting.

All the influences and inspirations of Rea’s personal journey are evident in her current work. Irony
mixed with paint, her work manifests the very constructive/destructive cycles that caused her long ambivalence to painting. Now it informs it.

 
 

“I think a successful painting should take more time to look at than it did to paint, and a great painting takes forever to see”

Just Looking

“Certain assumptions are made about what artists do… Painting? Sculpture? Not too many people consider life as a medium. My current conceptual work is to transform myself into a painter. I have nearly10 years invested in this project so far, plus the rest of my life.”

ARTIST'S STATEMENT

My paintings veer between representation and abstraction, because they are built from an accumulation of impressions, false impressions and fancies. I work in that wiggle-room between what my eyes see and what my brain thinks they’re seeing.

Rea Baldridge was born in, lives and works in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

“It’s the ambiguity in painting that I find seductive. Like words, shapes and colors can have more than one meaning and represent more than one thing. Like wordplay, it’s all about context.”

I spend as much time looking at a painting as making it. That’s  because it fascinates me how humans read and construct meaning from the chaos of line and color so effortlessly.

For me, watching images organize themselves out of quirky, disparate paint slathers and daubs, and then dissolve back into disarray is very entertaining. I’d love my paintings to be a conduit for coaxing another brain into that transformative state. I’d call that achievement “Impressivism”!

A painting can start off with almost any idea, or nothing in particular in mind, (that I’m aware of). The work eventually decides where it wants to go and what it wants to be. I just keep digressing, trying not to hamper the flow of the paint, letting secondary images to emerge or subside. I scrape down and restart a lot.

That’s why I work in oil paint and on several canvases at a time. When the process is working, It’s like automatic writing. Sorry, the pilot is taking a nap.

If someone spends a little time with a piece and finds something worthwhile in it, It’s a tremendous compliment to a painter.  As I see it, a painting’s job not to just grab attention, but to hold on long enough to elicit a second impression, perhaps enough to open an ethereal dialogue. I guess I really just want to entertain another person with  with an idea I think is worth sharing. Such is the megalomania of the artist!

About my titles. I love to slap an apt title on a painting. Funny how the best ones come straight out of the work, and land on it like a stamp. The last word is always the finishing touch, because I don’t think a painting is complete without a name.

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