S|2 is proud to present Sweet Nothing, an exhibition of new work by Charming Baker including paintings and large-scale drawings. Sweet Nothing marks Baker’s eagerly awaited return to London following a critically acclaimed show in Los Angeles. Often cited as one of the most dynamic artists of his generation, Baker’s work is defined by a restless imagination, and ranges freely from the everyday to the deeply personal, encouraging the viewer to make their own connections and conclusions. “Nothing is only ever one thing. I don’t see why I shouldn’t bend, shape or brake an image to alter its original meaning, if only to entertain” says Baker.
Baker’s diverse practice has seen him collaborate with the legendary designer Paul Smith for the V&A’sBritain Creates exhibition in 2012, and his work can be found in major private collections around the world. Damien Hirst memorably said of Baker’s work:
“It’s hard to say what makes a painting great. Its flatness and its depth, its ease and its complexity, a kind of preciousness that’s also kind of throwaway, a risk factor. Who gives a damn? Charming Baker’s paintings are great.”
While the meaning of his works might hover in ambiguity, Baker is an artist rooted in the rural Yorkshire of his childhood, and in the great tradition of British painting. This romantic vision, which references artists such as Constable and Hockney, is coupled with a raw energy that sees Baker cut, drill or even shoot the canvas with a rifle. Through this anarchic spirit, Baker challenges the preciousness of art and our calls into question our preconceived notions on beauty.
The exhibition comprises over 20 new works, including paintings and drawings. Baker playfully describes the inspiration behind these works as “Schrödinger’s cat, Pavlov’s dog, bitter nostalgia, sex, joy, folly, loss, Don Quixote, tended gardens, gypsum foundations, concrete ideals, loose morals, nature, nurture, sweet nothing…”.
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