Between the Lines:
by David Baird
May 27 – August 16, 2019
Unable to visit this exhibit in person? Check out this Flickr album for show photos.
David Baird makes three small paintings a day a practice he has maintained for more than twenty years. Both measured inquiry and sustained exploration, his ‘visual journal’ informs the exhibition Between the Lines: Biblical Speculations, in the Dadian Gallery at the Luce Center for Arts and Religion. These sculptures, paintings and monoprints share a common vocabulary of geometric shapes and non-objective imagery. Informed by the artist’s study of the Bible, these two and three-dimensional pieces are visual reflections on the stories and wisdom contained in this ancient collection of sacred texts.
Tearing the Veil is a series of monoprints, variations on a theme of curved and straight lines. These mixed-media images look like abstracted cityscapes or technical renderings in plan view, evidence of Baird’s training in architecture.
The sculpture plumbline feels both solid and precarious, a construction bound together by gravity and balance. Stacked lines of golden wood and shadow reveal glimpses of the inner structure where the edges meet. Builders and painters use plumb lines to calculate verticality, and the text of Isaiah 28:17 reads: “I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line.”
Baird describes these pieces as “re-interpreting the objects described in the text”, a visual hermeneutic in wood, paper and paint.
We are delighted to show his work at Wesley Theological Seminary.
Curator, Dadian Gallery
About the Artist
David Baird was raised in Iowa City, Iowa, and benefited from the diverse thought and expression cultivated in a college town. The child of educators (his father a professor, his mother an elementary school teacher), he was encouraged in his creative pursuits from an early age.Baird has been a professional artist since 1990. His artwork has been exhibited in over 50 venues across the country, including seven museums. He has had solo exhibitions in Paris, France and Mittersill, Austria. His work has won several awards and has been recognized by Peter Frank—Village Voice; Jane Aldin—Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC; George P. Schneider—The Art Institute of Chicago; Beth Handler—Museum of Modern Art, NYC; Phyllis Braff—The New York Times; Fiona Ragheb—Guggenheim Museum, NYC; Helen Harrison—Pollack-Krasner House; Lisa Phillips and David Kiehl, Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC.
Baird studied art and architecture at the University of Illinois, Champaign and received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture in 1987. From Champaign, Illinois, he moved to Copenhagen, Denmark, where he studied and worked for a Danish design firm.
Upon his return to the United States, Baird accepted an assistantship at the University of Arizona in Tucson. There he studied art and architecture and obtained a Master of Architecture Degree in 1991. Since graduation Baird has published more than 20 academic papers, lectured at a dozen major universities and has received major grants that have supported his various investigations. This work has been recognized by his peers, published extensively and given numerous awards.
David is currently professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas College of Fine Arts, which houses Nevada’s premier accredited design programs in Interior Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Planning and Architecture. He is the co-founder and design director of +one design and construction – an award-winning firm.
For more information about Baird’s artwork visit www.keepitreal.gallery.
It can be argued that the Bible is the most influential piece of literature in the world. The text is rooted in four major world religions, misused occasionally to start wars and justify oppression, and has inspired countless works of art—including the pieces in this exhibit. Like any complex text, it takes a bit of study and effort to keep the characters straight and really understand what is going on.Many of us were exposed to diminished versions of these ancient stories as children and as adults never bothered to critically re-examine the text and its deeper meanings. For me the most intriguing qualities of these stories lurk between the lines. This is what I am exploring in this exhibition—an attempt to speculate, explore and capture the struggle and human emotion not described in the text. I do this not by constructing an accurate visual narrative of the writ¬ten story but rather through re-interpreting various objects mentioned in the text. I am aware this body of work challenges current norms of contemporary art making. Today the art community is largely focused on the unique worlds that individual artists create for themselves and their work. I hope society has not lost the desire, patience and courage to mine the rich insights
I consider myself an explorer searching for consequential experiences or insight. That is why the work is almost always produced and presented as a series or set of works. I obsessively develop fields using the same compositional elements to facilitate comparison, critical observation and to allow others to participate in this quest.