Wendt Gallery presents Casey Baugh: Évoquer, a solo exhibition of works by the artist. Évoquer, will celebrate Casey Baugh’s first solo exhibition in New York City, and draw attention to the artist’s recent exploration into thematic representational painting.
Wanting the viewer to delight in a thrilling and spontaneous kind of pleasure, the artist ignites an immediacy and desire in the response to these new paintings. Using blatant iconic imagery, and an application of large geometric angled shapes along with carefully manipulated color and lighting, Baugh carefully crafts a concept which plays with the perception of our consumer culture versus the authentic quality of the human condition.
Casey Baugh directly references iconography intended to evoke the viewer’s reaction. Baugh describes his new works by noting: “Évoquer for me has been an exploration of a direct response of emotions, through cultural iconography; pure and pleasing color; simple and agreeable shape; and staged and manipulated lighting. All of these dynamics together evoke an instantaneous reaction. I prefer to direct my compositions through very conscious choices of all aspects of my painting, from process oriented to non-natural aspects. I am also interested in creating for the viewer an ageless time-space aspect in my work.” He continues, “My goal was to simplify the shapes in each scene down to its core so as to allow the viewer to focus on a select few areas of interest. Also keeping with what I feel to be a contemporary theme in design, I composed my scenes with large angled geometric shapes all put at one end or another in order which also upset the balance and cause a bit more tension in the overall mood of the painting. Pose and body language play a major roll in the design of the pieces as I want to rouse the viewer’s eye and engage their perceptions… Lighting and model selection were the final element in the culmination of these works. All aspects of the composition are important to me, including the dress, lighting, and appearance of my chosen models. In works such as Rapture and Ravishing, my intention is to capture the viewer’s eye by using the pop-culture iconic imagery of a ‘Fashion Model.’ At the same time, however, I want to simultaneously maintain as much simplicity to authenticity of the idea of the woman behind ‘the model,’ behind the ‘cultural façade.’ Although that aspect underlies my paintings, still, these iconic works are not meant to be taken too seriously or read into too deeply. More so, they are meant to convey an overall attitude and to some extent an immediate reaction of ‘instant gratification’ by the visual evocation of the viewer’s emotion.”
These new works bring to light Baugh’s development from his previous body of work, which represented more scholarly paintings, in the likes of his great mentor, Richard Schmid. This new collection of works demonstrates the progression from his previous interest in communicating the genuine aspect of his subject matter; towards satisfying his growing interest into deliberating every aspect of his painting, much like a director of a movie. The intimate and veritable aspects of Baugh’s subject matter play a supporting role to the leading role in his painting, which is to evoke an immediate desire and response in the viewer.
Over the last year, the implementation of a fashion runway model as his subject matter has been the focal point of these newest directed works. The iconography of the model wields itself as an instantaneous and recognizable catalyst, a cultural object of desire, a complex, sophisticated, and superior form of beauty. Baugh has posed them under direct light and voluminous backgrounds, in order to further allow him to explore his ideals of incorporating a natural dynamic into his iconic beings.
The inclusion of Baugh’s simplistic yet calculated paint processes has inter-woven itself gracefully into the iconic complexity of his work. A harmonious blend between iconic imagery and straight-forward painterly intervention give Baugh’s subject matter an air of confidence, introspection and a direct human appeal. Baugh’s inclusion of iconography and the organic application of his process induce the viewer to question the actuality of his subject matter. The viewer must re-evaluate his media based perception; and the subject matter as more than just something idyllic.