The SketchUp Residency
A look inside an artist’s studio is undoubtedly a view into the artist’s mind. A place of creation and personal haven, the studio, like a diary, is full of clues to the owners disposition. It is a place where one’s greatest artistic triumphs sit beside one’s greatest failures, finished pieces among works in progress, where piles of books, clippings, and other specimens of inspiration or just general interest collide, to form great ideas and eventually great works of art. It is both a place of joy and disappointment; inspiration and frustration. But most of all it is a necessary place in which an artist may grow.
Sam Baker sees his studio as a sight of production. Set up as more of a workshop than an administration office, his studio is complete with power tools, a workbench, and a well-stocked tool wall. Having a studio as an epicentre for objects and elements creates a vacuum where all materials are suspended in space and nothing has special status; everything exists equally. Taking this into consideration it’s apt to imagine the studio as a net that sieves these particles into an unfamiliar sequence of new ideas and possibilities. Through the images of the studio one becomes aware of the connections between objects, and a hierarchy allows you to recognise the materials in a new light; transformed and moulded by their surroundings. This process relies on a susceptibility to looking and being tentative to a collection of objects. Baker uses his studio as a place to organise and categorise his treasures, but also as a station for an entire universe, with specific energies and tensions, to be built through repetitive ritual.
* * *
By deliberately twisting, bending and pinching linear forms Sam Baker creates a new physical act of communication. The works stand as sites of a past performance where he has laboriously cut into materials creating conversation about production, finesse and technical virtuosity. The introduction of steam is an activator that playfully turns a process into a material within itself, by rupturing the binary relationships of wood and steel.
There is an out of control nature to steam and the way that it will not behave as a physical, matter based material. As vapour, steam is pervasive and intangible. He is interested in mocking and provoking the physical through the use of steam as a force to create and destroy.