By Laura Kuhn
NEW YORK–What do a doodling child, a tattooed sailor, a spray-paint wielding teenager and a Native American woodcarver have in common? According to artist Donald Baechler, everything.
Last Friday the artist, who draws from a variety of cultural influences, will open a show of his work at chelsea’s Cheim Reid Gallery, Donald Baechler: New Work that will run through May 1st.
The gallery expressed excitement to be showing the latest work from Baechler, whose career has successfully spanned more than three decades.
“Donald Beachler is always very popular. His work is always well-received when we have his shows at Cheim and Read,” said Austin Byrd who works at Cheim and Reid’s front desk.
Though the work is new, fans of Baechler’s work will be happy to see that it is hardly different. As always, the work depicts images that appear familiar. He seeks to unify all elements of culture—high and low, simple and complex—with his brightly colored assemblages.
The show of his new work includes painting, collages, assemblages and sculptures. A flower motif runs throughout much of the work drawing allusions to classical art, childhood paintings and folk art alike.
The painted assemblages form the focus of the show. Baechler’s style is consistent throughout: Large images of soccer-balls, skulls and (of course) flowers are rendered in thick black outlines and filled in with colorful pastel hues. The backgrounds of these image vary a bit—some are completely abstract, while others consist of paint-splattered muted patterns.
Perhaps his strongest works, some are collage assemblages of muted images painted over in white. Baechler makes these works through a process of gathering, collecting, sorting and assembling. These choices of images provide a rich background for the flat paintings that attract the viewer on top.
The heavy backgrounds and bright colors of Beachler’s work might have been overwhelming, but the gallery spaces the work evenly. Against the white walls, the works pop—as bright and friendly as the weather outside.
Baechler’s bright flowers and showers of paint will run through April and May.