Lawrence Baker: Taking Another Look
Museum of Creative Human Art
The Museum of Creative Human Art presents Taking Another Look, a collection of drawings on paper by Lawrence Baker. With his preferred media of graphite, he experiments with color washes and composition to create images of elements found in nature. Influenced by landscape artists, especially Vincent Van Gogh, Baker prioritizes aesthetic choices when expressing himself through his work.
During his process of creation, Baker states that his, “mind becomes like unperturbed water: clear, stripped bare, and unencumbered.” He remarks, “As I stand before each blank canvas, my universe becomes the white of the paper and the black of the graphite...Naked is how I came into the world and this is how I approach my work. The emotional baggage that I carry every waking moment of my life is set aside; although in the end, it somehow is manifested in the finished art. I only take what nature provides, making images from what I see and creating a vision that will exceed the sum of its parts.”
Lawrence Baker. Photo: Alvin Smith / The Urban Design Suit
I was born in Jacksonville, Florida during the late 1940's, where dreams were dangerous and notions of high self-esteem were deadly for young Bblack males. In a published book (Middle Passage: The Artistic Life of Lawrence Baker by Louis B. Burroughs Jr.), I share stories of my torn relationships, the magnetism of the streets, and how art became the canvas for my particular portrayal of life.
For me, life became a series of calculations; any miscalculations would have led to my undoing. My sometime successes nourished me. I chose art as my vehicle to seek out some of those successes. Though over a period of twenty to thirty years off and on of seeking higher education, I always made an effort to continue learning in some capacity. Some of those steps of continued learning included receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a minor in Education, Masters of Arts, and Master of Fine Arts from Kent State University, Kent Ohio (1989). I also was the recipient of a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio.
Even while reaching for higher education, I continued on seeking acknowledgements for my art. I continued pursuing art to achieve as many successes as possible. Some of my early solo art exhibitions took place at Karamu House, Cleveland, Ohio (1983); Trumbull Art Gallery (1995); Springfield Museum of Art, Springfield, Ohio (2002); Mississippi Valley State University, Ita Bena, Mississippi (2003); Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, Alabama (2006); Erie Art Museum, Erie Pennsylvania, and Cleveland Botanical Gardens , Cleveland, Ohio (both 2007). Some of my selected group art exhibitions include: Annual NOVA Painting Show at Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, (1982); Afro-American Artist Invitational Exhibition at Lakewood Community College, Mentor, Ohio (1984); Each in their Own Voices, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, and Andrews Art Museum, Andrews, North Carolina (both 2009).
I have been seeking acknowledgement for my endeavors into fine arts for more than fifty years. In a lot of instances, I have sorted out those efforts through competitive international, national, and local competitions. I have also tried through recognition from foundations with some relations to visual arts. One of my most recent accomplishments was being recognized by the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 2017. Some of the most recent competitions include: the 33rd Annual Tallahassee International, Tallahassee Museum of Fine Arts; the 39th Annual Paper in Particular National Exhibition, Columbia College, Columbia, Missouri, the 46th International Exhibition, Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts, Brownsville, Texas (Third Place), and the 61st Chautauqua Annual Art Exhibition, Chautauqua, New York (all 2018).
Lawrence Baker’s exhibition Taking Another Look is presented by The Museum of Creative Human Art (MCHA) as part of their institutional residency at moCa. Learn more about this pilot residency initiative by visiting: Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (moCa) Announces Institutional Residency: A Transformative Collaboration with The Museum of Creative Human Art | MOCA Cleveland.
More about Museum of Creative Human Art at creativehumanart.com.