Artist Kiyomi Baird moved to Santa Fe from New Jersey with her husband, Ed Baird, in May 2016 and hit the ground running. She found the commercial space at 203 Canyon Road available and started setting up her gallery, OTA Contemporary, which opened late last spring.
OTA Contemporary features Baird’s paintings as well as sculpture by Hernan Gomez Chavez and Somers Randolph, encaustic monoprints by David A. Clark, holograms by August Muth and paintings by Nola Zirin, Carlos Frias and Mario Martinez.
In the gallery’s most recent show, “Voices,” artworks are displayed in a way that encourages visual conversations between the artists and their pieces. The show runs through January 25, with an opening reception on December 15.
Baird is a lifelong artist who was turned on to art after her father gave her a box of artist’s materials when she was three years old. She spent her early childhood living on a farm in central California in a household that was headed by her non-English speaking paternal grandmother, who left Japan through an arranged marriage at the start of the 20th century, .
Baird studied art and philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley for a couple of years before leaving school and heading to Europe to study film in Italy. Fate intervened, and Germany became her destination. It was during her time in Germany, at the age of 20, when she had a profound realization that becoming a full time artist was her destiny.
“I painted large pieces that sold well in Germany,” she recalls. “These early pieces contained my first spheres, which are still an important part of my work today.”
In the late 1990s, Baird spent three years living in Tokyo, during which time she not only connected with her ancestral homeland and with Japanese culture and aesthetics but also studied Nihonga painting, where pigment and glue are applied to handmade mulberry paper mounted on board.
“I believe this cultural duality is the source of a dynamic tension that I feel in my life and express in my art: the Eastern search inward toward stillness and the Western drive outward through exploration,” Baird says in her artist statement. “This duality may explain my lifelong love of exploring and learning, while also nurturing a rich inner life.”
Recently, Baird has extended her methods of painting into other media, such as monotype printing and computer enhanced collages. “Regardless of the medium, I seek to create visual abstract spaces that can serve as portals to various environments of the mind and the cosmos,” she says.