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Nancy Baker: Mechanisms of Entropy

Compounding the subject, Nancy Baker is proverbially flooding the senses. Using the format of mixed media allows for such an array of imagery that a subject is easily obscured. Inside tangles of drawings, cutouts, random objects you have lying around, it isn’t easy to let your attention settle on a particular thing. But you won’t miss a detail. Baker is able to entwine and tinker together all the broken mechanisms, glistening gemstones, florid plants and cartoon eyeballs in an ephemeral web that mirrors the the inside of her head reflecting on excess and entropy. Ideas dissipate just like everything else. Baker is taking the notion and that becomes the subject.

A prevalent motif Baker utilizes is the mixed-and-matched mechanical parts. Seeming as machines that have discombobulated – and being broken, strewn about like upon the darkest recesses of a machinist’s workbench – these assemblages speak to some failure or hysteria of mechanistic living. You can’t expect the collages to function in a practical manner or in the manner some of the mechanism would usually preform. But trailing along their knotting expansions the implication of functioning vaguely rises and the magic that those objects deliver to everyday existence – more or less overlooked in their familiarity – becomes evident. Lives are wound together abstractly, each separate facet bound with meshes of wires, clusters of resistors and tiny blinking lights. A sense of technical difficulty is immanent but the menace is offset my Baker’s integration of strings of shining beads or blossoming petals. The mechanistic anxiety is de-emphasized against decorous sensation and natural elegance.

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-Howard Brad Halverson


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