Works By Dominique Rousserie and Kevin Baker
The representation of life claims all our forces… Renunciation…is our compact with the Muse, in it reposes our strength, our value; and life is our forbidden garden, our great temptation, to which we yield sometimes…
Thomas Mann, Royal Highness, 1909
May 14, 2009 – New York, NY. Tria Gallery will present Forbidden Gardens: Works by Dominique Rousserie and Kevin Baker from May 14 through June 27, 2009.
Lush and magnificent, the canvases of Dominique Rousserie and Kevin Baker cannot merely be described as botanicals. There is something more here. These works are indeed beautiful, but they are also playful, sensual, and at times even raw, psychedelic, and erotic. And while the work of the two men is certainly distinct, they share a natural vocabulary of leaves, petals, and branches to communicate with their viewers. And communicate they do – for as we look at these paintings we cannot help at times but to feel a connection between these plants and our own selves… our bodies, our sexuality, and even our humanity. The fusion is natural, and powerful. The rawness of these feelings can be deliciously wicked, and make the viewer feel as if he or she has entered into some sort of “forbidden garden.”
Born in Metz, France, Rousserie was traveling and painting by the age of 20. Truly a citizen of the world, he has lived and created art in Israel, Spain, the Canary Islands, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Brazil, Venezuela, the Bahamas, Sweden, Italy, Turkey, Yemen, India, Nepal, Dominican Republic, Belgium, the United States and St. Barth’s. He debuted his series “Botanic Verses” in 2001 in Argentina, the U.S. and the Ukraine, and his work in this exhibition is a natural continuation of that series.
Rousserie was fascinated from an early age with ancient civilizations, primitivism, nature and rituals, and these interests clearly inform his work. His global background is evident in his powerful and provocative paintings. Rousserie’s work hangs in private and public collections throughout the world.
Kevin Baker Kevin Baker was born and raised in Central City, Kentucky, a coal mining community in western Kentucky. Creating art, 12 years studying classical violin, and a constant obsession with hunting and growing native plants were his main inspirations. Now living and working in New York City, Kevin is still obsessed with the beauty of flowers, and finds that he has been largely influenced by kitsch and decorative arts. “My grandmother used oilcloth on everything. Shiny floral patterns and plaids covered outdoor furniture, and could be wiped clean with Windex. It was an inexpensive and water resistant material and in a way had become a substitute for leather.” In Kevin’s paintings, these floral oilcloths are transformed into playful environments full of air and movement. Each flower or plant life he has recreated comes alive and floats in a foggy organic atmosphere where little gravity exists. It is as if the world was flooded, or that you are viewing the bottom of the deepest waters where only your imagination can venture. You can see flower particles that have remained visible from the original oilcloth pattern, but he transforms them with many small dots. The transformations Kevin has made to the surface are often surprising and have an uplifting visual effect.
Recently a resident artist with Donald Baechler at Poligrafa Print Studio in Barcelona, Spain,
Baker received his BFA from Western Kentucky University and his MFA from Miami University in Oxford, OH. His work has been exhibited in Europe and throughout the U.S.