Seam, Scar, Sign
Baras’s painting style is emphatically tactile and her intimately scaled works contain a visceral physicality. Each surface, usually canvas or burlap, is built up with layers of impastoed oil paint, bits of wood, and paper pulp. The paintings are intended to be read in relief, gaining resonance through the artist’s visual play with depth and surface, while subtly intruding into the viewer’s space. The use of seams (or scars) in the construction of the paintings serves as a drawing device, which further activates the compositions.
In her latest body of work, Baras’s color palette has shifted. After a residency at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, dusty ochres, pinks, and greens have seeped into her paintings from the immersive desert landscape. Throughout her soft geometry, tableaus and abstracted patterns are interwoven with letters from the Roman and Cyrillic alphabets. Letters and numbers are rendered in wood and paint functioning as signs or signifiers as well as conduits of meaning. Baras intuitively integrates glyphs, symbols, and traces of language into her most recent works, allowing the artist to point to communication in the creation of her new talismans, while continuing to evolve her idiosyncratic visual language.