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Exhibitions: Past

Placing Color

Works by Brett Baker, Kayla Mohammadi, and Carrie Patterson

September 4 – October 8, 2008

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Painting, the simple means of placing color on a flat surface, is extraordinary in its ability to transport us from the context of our daily existence to new places - complete, vibrant worlds within the boundaries of the rectangle. Beyond its traditional role as a place of illusion, the painted surface itself is a location, a destination defined by the artist's actions upon it. Placing Color is an exhibition that explores painting as both a place of action and a destination.

The exhibition presents paintings by three artists: Brett Baker, Kayla Mohammadi, and Carrie Patterson. Seen together their intensely individual approaches create places that are both intimate and immense, unified by a sensitivity to the means of painting touch and color.

Kathleen Hancock

The Artists

Brett Baker

Brett Baker's work explores painting as a place of interaction and repose where the artist's (and by extension the viewer's) presence completes the work. In his smaller paintings, densely layered over time, a balance of color and mark denies deep space - achieving a presence not unlike a portrait - an abstract gaze that activates the space between viewer and work.

The artist's recent large paintings approach a scale normally reserved for sculpture and architecture. Each painting presents a single color on a vast scale. Though mural-sized, these works retain the intimacy of easel painting. Installed facing the wall, the viewer must actively enter the space of the painting, immersing himself or herself in color which seems to project outward itself inhabiting the space between painted surface and gallery wall.

Kayla Mohammadi

Working from observation landscape, interior, or still life - Kayla Mohammadi seeks visual translation rather than literal portrayal in her paintings. Influenced by her dual Finnish and Persian heritage, her work seeks the unexpected place we encounter through sudden, fresh juxtapositions of form and color. In Mohammadi's paintings, memory, formal elements, and observation are competing energies that coalesce, asking us familiar questions: Can I walk into this space? Do I want to? Am I standing on solid ground, being pushed away, or finally stepping through to a new place?

Carrie Patterson

Carrie Patterson's paintings and collages investigate the tension between the memory of architectural spaces and the space of painterly process. Her work questions whether the physicality of a painting or collage can be representative of space without illusion. Influenced by architecture where light plays on structure and material, her recent work experiments with boxes that house reflective objects such as prisms. Patterson videotapes the prisms' reflections, edits and loops the footage, and projects the video on her studio wall as subject matter for painting. Patterson works on many canvases at once, altering the arrangement of line, shape and color in subtle degrees, much like a choreographer would alter a repetitive action across a stage.


Brett Baker is an abstract painter who lives and works in New York City and Worcester, NY. He earned a BA in Fine Arts from the College of William and Mary, a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Painting from Brandeis University and an MFA in Painting (1999) from Boston University. His work has won numerous awards including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Painting (2002) and a Juror's Prize from the eminent art historian and painter Andrew Forge (1999). From 1999-2001 he was Visiting Lecturer of Drawing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He has exhibited work in group shows nationally, including Sideshow Gallery (Brooklyn), The Painting Center (NY), Sherman Gallery (Boston), New Bedford Art Museum (MA), Erector Square Gallery (CT), and Bowery Gallery (NY). Upcoming exhibitions include a solo exhibition in Chicago, IL, and "Time, Text, Texture" a collaborative installation with Ensemble dal niente at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago, IL.

Kayla Mohammadi received her BFA in painting from the University of Washington in 1998 and her MFA in 2002 from Boston University. In 2005 she was awarded the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation Grant; in 2003 the Blanche E. Colman Award, Mellon Bank; and in 2000-2002 she was the recipient of the Constantin Alajalov Scholarship. 2006-2007 exhibitions include: Chicago Art Fair; Johnson State College, Johnson, VT;Marist College, A Place for the Genuine: 5 Abstract Women Painters; Gallery 170, New Work, Damariscotta, Maine; Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Biennial Juried Exhibition and CMCA's Print Show, Rockport, ME; Rose Art Museum, Spot-On, Brandeis University's Studio Art Faculty Exhibition, Waltham, ME, and Creative Arts Workshop Group, New Haven, CT. Her prints have recently been shown at the University of Denver's Victoria Mehren Gallery, Marist College, and currently at the Capitol Building in Augusta, ME. Currently she is a visiting Art Lecturer at Brandeis University in Waltham, Ma. She has also taught at Massachusetts College of Art, and the University of Massachusetts in Boston, and The Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University.

Carrie Patterson was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1970. She earned a B.F.A in studio art from James Madison University and an M.F.A in painting from The University of Pennsylvania. In addition she was a student resident at The New York Studio School and The Vermont Studio Center. Her work has been exhibited across the country in venues such as The Painting Center in New York City, First Street Gallery in New York City, Bowery Gallery in New York City, Elizabeth Harris Gallery in New York City, Nexus Foundation for Today's Art in Philadelphia, Washington Art Association in Washington Depot Connecticut, Bendheim Gallery in Greenwich Connecticut, Bryant Street Gallery in Palo Alto California, The Museum of Fine Art in Tallahassee Florida, The Museum of Art in Asheville North Carolina, and The Muscarelle Museum of Art in Williamsburg Virginia.

Internationally she has exhibited at Museo de Arte Moderno in Bogota Colombia and Winsor Gallery in Vancouver Canada. Ms. Patterson has received research grants from St. Mary's College of Maryland, The College of William and Mary, and The Leeway Foundation for the Arts. She also received a Virginia Governor's Fellowship to The Virginia Center for Creative Arts in 2003. Her drawings and paintings are invented interiors that reflect the experience of inhabiting space. Artist and critic Jeanne Wilkinson describes her work in thefollowing way: "Each area of color is equally filled with light, and contained gently but securely within its own distinct space. Like the rooms of a house or the people within that structure, they depend on each other for their shape and placement." She is an Assistant Professor of art at St. Mary's College of Maryland where she teaches drawing and painting.