Donald Baechler
Sculpture January 13 – February 12, 2005
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The American artist Donald Baechler, who was born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1956, is widely considered one of the most interesting painters of his generation. In addition to paintings, his oeuvre includes drawings, collages and, increasingly since the mid-80s, sculptures. His repertoire of motifs is to be found dispersed across different genres, starting from drawings and ending up as sculptures where, after a process of transformation, these motifs finally take on three-dimensional volume. Yet even here the signature of the painter remains visible in the colored patinas of the bronze sculptures' heavily worked surfaces.

These new sculptures were the subject of a recent exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art Salzburg. In an interview that accompanied the exhibition, Baechler had this to say:

"About fifteen or twenty years ago I was very unhappy with the way I was drawing, and I decided, as a kind of project, to relearn how to draw from the beginning, from the very simplest gestures, to reinvent a vocabulary of lines and shapes. And I started looking at children's art and art of the insane and the whole Dubuffet thing. So when I started doing sculptures, about ten years ago, I was looking again for a way to make forms as if I'd never made sculpture before. So I wanted to forget about armatures and about the proper way of using clay and the proper way of doing anything, and started just squeezing things with my hands, making shapes…

So there really is no narrative intention; it's just a response to materials. And they happen to look the way they do, because that's the way they look. I think there's even less content in the sculpture than in the paintings. Less narrative. I think they're kind of mute…

I'm interested in discreet and very mute objects, and I've never really been interested in narrative or psychology or these things which many people read into my paintings and probably into the sculptures."

This will be the first presentation of the artist's bronze sculpture in New York City.


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