Landscape is a guiding force behind David Baca’s work. It’s always in the back of his mind, seeping into his abstract acrylic paintings in different ways.
“People often tell me that a painting reminds them of a particular location they know well,” says Baca. “When I look at my work, I’m reminded of places, both interior and exterior, that have been part of my life.”
More than a dozen paintings created during the past few years are on exhibit in Baca’s first show at Pippin Contemporary from November 23 through December 6. Baca explains that it’s not uncommon for paintings to slowly evolve over time- some were started several years ago, put aside for a while and then brought back to the easel. “I may have an idea in mind when I begin a new work, but other times painting is a reactionary process,” Baca explains.
A native New Mexican who currently has studios in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, Baca began his career painting realistic Southwestern landscapes in Albuquerque. In 1988, he headed to New York City and spent four years living in Brooklyn and the East Village. The move profoundly affected him personally and professionally as Southwestern scenes gave way to urban-inspired landscapes. In 1990, he experienced a surge of emotional energy after many of his paintings and materials burned in a fire, thereby fueling the creation of one of his most important bodies of work aptly called “The Fire Paintings.” Less than two years later he returned to New Mexico.
“New York still inspires my work,” says Baca. “I go back to visit, at least every couple of years.”
New Mexico’s landscape also finds a way into Baca’s abstract paintings, even if the reference is subtle. “Tension and relief and man’s presence in the landscape are of interest in my work.” he says. “For me, painting transcends time.”