Teresa Baker constructs abstract, mixed media paintings that evoke the vast landscapes of the Northern Plains where she grew up. Acknowledging that the natural environment registers cultural, historical, spiritual, political and social conditions, she generates a conversation between explicit reference and experimentation. With flat planes of color and linear embellishments, the works map suggestive terrains while remaining open-ended.
Shift in the Clouds refers to the moving patterns of light and shadow that the sun casts on the ground. As Baker has explained, “it is less about looking up and more about looking down or around.” Baker’s landscapes likewise generate a grounded perspective, emphasizing the connection between human beings and the earth.
The choice of materials in Baker’s paintings indicates a wide scope of reference, as well as a variety of image-making strategies. Astroturf, which she often uses as the primary support, solves formal problems of shape, color and adaptability, while referring to an artificial, commercial culture. Natural elements like buckskin, willow, buffalo hide, and parfleche, or dried and stretched hide, harken to the traditions of the Mandan and Hidatsa tribes, of which she is a member. These deeply inflected materials, which have ceremonial and storytelling functions in Native American culture, become evocative drawing implements in Baker’s hands.
Teresa Baker ((Mandan/Hidatsa) b. 1985 Watford City, ND) is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes in Western, ND and currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
Baker has had recent solo exhibitions at de boer, Los Angeles, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, AZ; Halsey McKay, East Hampton, NY; Pied-à-terre, San Francisco; and Interface Gallery, Oakland. Group exhibitions include Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, TX, The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; di Rosa, Napa, CA; Marin MoCA, Novato, CA, and Anthony Meier, Mill Valley, CA. Baker is a 2022 Joan Mitchell Fellow, a 2022 Artist-in-Residence at FOGO Island Arts in Newfoundland, and the recipient of the 2020 Native American Fellowship for Visual Artists at the Ucross Foundation. Baker was an Artist-in-Residence at MacDowell, and a Tournesol Award Artist-in-Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts. The artist’s work was recently acquired by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, KS, the Portland Museum of Art, Maine, the Forge Collection, NY, and The Tia Collection, Santa Fe. In 2023 Baker’s work was included in ‘Made in L.A. 2023: Acts of Living’ at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA.