Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Artist of the day: Jessica Baker

As recently spotlighted on NPR's "Weekend America" edition, Brooklyn artist Jessica Baker creates unique prints on nature's own parchment-- leaves. Why bother going to Pearl or Blick when you have all the materials you need right at your feet?

This past weekend I joined the artist at her show "Leaf and Circle" at Prospect Park's Audubon Center. The works are unique in the same way as that of a snowflake-- no two are quite the same.

Utilizing maples, Paulownias, Lindens, Black Cherry and much much more, I was awash in the beauty of it all, taking it in. The concentric circles within each print seem to bring to mind intracellular communication, or the initial moment of conception. I loved how the colors seem to absorb so easily into the cellulose base of the chlorophyll. But for Baker, it was an extremely fragile process in getting the leaves prepared just right to be able to absorb the pigment. They had to be fresh, but not too moist. In fact, she soaked each leaf prior to printing, and then would blot each so as not to be oversaturated.

Throughout the exhibit Baker fuses together a nice blend of appreciation for the natural realm, and each piece seems to be an almost rebirth in itself.

Check out some of the images at Baker's site, or go to NPR's podcast to listen to her speak about her work.

It's some great stuff.

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