Remote Viewing, Jimmy Baker’s solo exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center, is heavy with the artist’s efforts to invent new ways for paintings to be made in the 21st century. Distorted digital photographs printed directly onto the canvases are combined with slurps and slashes of oil painting. The depicted imagery refers back to this hybrid mode of production that combines technology with traditional methods. Representations of computer parts, machines and artillery crash across renderings of landscapes that might well have been copied from Hudson River School paintings.
The didactic wall text explains that images harvested from the news, government websites and social media sites are buried in the paintings’ layers. But these paintings are physical manifestations of the panic of a technological age, with no need for the back story of these political concepts to be tacked to it. “Kunar Eclipse,” for example, is an exercise in controlled chaos. Mountain ranges are pushed to the edges of the piece by what seems to be a partial view of a woman’s face, disintegrating into gory maroons and flecks of gray. It is the best of these visual collisions, strengthened by its ambiguity. Remote Viewing continues through April 10.�
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