Melas Papadopoulos

Erica Baum

28 Mar - 11 May 2013

© Erica Baum
The April Fools, 2013 (Blanks)
Archival pigment print,
9 x 9 inches (22.86 x 22.86 cm)
Blanks / Naked Eye Anthology
28 March - 11 May 2013

Returning to Athens, this time for a solo exhibition, Erica Baum delves into the world of used paperbacks to pull out narratives and frame them as photographic fields. In two distinct series, Blanks and Naked Eye Anthology she continues to engage in a loving discourse with the physical quality of books.
Whereas in her previous series such as Dog Ear, Index and Card Catalogues she proposed deliberate formal and textual accidents that enlarged the scope of concrete poetry, here she lets pure color and texture (Blanks) or fractured cinematic images (Naked Eye) substitute linguistic reverie.
Collecting her source material in second hand bookstores and thrift stores, Baum subsequently flips through the paperbacks in her studio.
She selects from a large repository of images, book titles and aged surfaces with slowness and cogitation.
The chromatic and formal rigorousness of the Blanks recalls Josef Albers’s Homage to the Square series. Like Albers’s paintings, Baum’s small photographic abstractions retain a mysterious materiality despite their systematic and mechanical execution.
The Naked Eye Anthology comes out of paperbacks from the sixties and the seventies with cheap black and white photographic reproductions, yellowing pages and richly dyed edges. Baum produces through fanning and photographing pages from the books, images analogous to experimental film, with an often pronounced scopophillic quality. Interiors, objects and glimpses of female figures are cut by stripes of colour that block uninterrupted entry into the entire narrative.
Erica Baum (b. 1961 in New York City) lives and works in New York. She received a B.A. in anthropology from Barnard College and an M.F.A. in Photography from the Yale School of Art. She has exhibited in New York, Berlin, Lausanne, London, Athens, Malmö among other cities. A large survey of her work was presented in the 30th São Paulo Biennial while she has shown at Bureau, NY, Marc Jancou, Geneva, Friedrich Petzel, NY MCA Denver, Cocquilles Méchaniques at Frac Alsace, Altkirch and The Drawing Center, New York. Her photographs are in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven and the Whitney Museum, New York.

Tags: Josef Albers, Erica Baum