The latest body of work from Stephen Baker is the result of 13 months, culminating in 16 new paintings. Underlying themes of day and night have been used to define two distinct colour palettes throughout this series – a summery, warm palette, and contrasting moody blue ‘moonshine’ palette, referred to in the show’s title.
Often inspired by architecture, these latest paintings refer specifically to 1920’s ’Moorish Revival’ style architecture, in the city of Opa-locka in Florida. This unlikely influence caught Stephen’s eye after he happened upon an architecture book documenting these unusual homes. ‘Their dream was to create a city that felt like it was taken straight from the pages of the “Arabian Nights”,’ Stephen explains. ‘At the time I stumbled on this book, I was planning my next show and constructing my own dreamlike landscape… this book fuelled the idea even more.’
Recognisable by meticulous clean lines and tightly controlled colour palettes, Stephen’s paintings are almost impossibly precise (yes, they’re all painted by hand!). His ongoing fascination with escapism is a constant theme, as is his exploration of utopian-versus-dystopian environments.
With ‘Moonshine’, there’s a push outside the ‘real world’ towards a fictional narrative, the painter explains. ‘Instead of finding the “escape” in a real-life environment, I’ve placed the figures in a totally fictitious one,’ Stephen says. ‘There’s also a hint of ritualistic activities, with works such as ‘Placement of the Moon‘ and ‘Aligning the Moon’.
‘Moonshine’ by Stephen Baker
Opening Night, Friday March 16th, 6-9pm
Show runs March 16th – 25th
2 Wreckyn Street, North Melbourne
Pre-sale catalogue now available via firstname.lastname@example.org.