Charming Baker : The Less Charming Ok Oh Review

The likelihood that I will someday be a passable painter is low, by my own estimation. This is not to stymie possible future events with a negative outlook so much as it is a tip of the genealogical hat to patterns already set in motion. For painting to me is what playing the piano is to my father. My own prepubescent career as a piano player ignominiously ended with a comment made by another kid's parent following a group recital that the (bombastic and virile) Beethoven "duh-duh-duh-duhhhhhh" piece I lead with didn't seem to fit my personality quite as well as my final piece, the (decidedly more feminine) Love Theme from Flashdance. What really got me was that all I wanted to play for the recital were a few songs from Fiddler on the Roof, a selection my teacher, the wife of the local Presbyterian minister seemed not to favor. To this day, the only song I can play by heart on the piano is If I Were A Rich Man. My father never took piano lessons, though his mantra, ever since I can remember, was to do just that: "When I retire I am going to take piano lessons." Granted, he is not quite retired yet, he being one of those that prefers to work well into his septuagincy, but it looks like the time it takes to become a good piano player may ultimately fall through his cracks. My only success in the practice of painting came from three paintings made in college of wildly differing content and style, but sharing the same absolute inability to handle the necessarily squishy nature of the medium: a putridly bucolic scene of a church seen through the trees across a wide green field, a conceptual Malevichian composition of flesh tones to which I affixed a headless Barbie doll in the shape of the crucifixion (which was then vandalized where it hung in the study hall) and a flat sort of cartoonish cubist likeness of my friend Kris skateboarding. Failures, all. Add this natural talentlessness to my opinion that a painter must master oils, then marry that to my impatience with messiness, and prop it all up with my incessant chirping that "someday I'd like to be a painter" and I think the potent mixture is there to indeed make the brush for me what the keys are for my father. Only my son will be able to say. And with a roll of the eyes. Charming Baker, the curiously named artist, seems to have some other hobgoblin to pine after however, as his painting prowess is fully conceived. In fact, not knowing his previous work and having only seen one show, I am inclined to say he is at the peak of his powers. It helps that his original and catchy compositions are accompanied by an equally original and catchy naming protocol, to which last night at the opening I overheard nearly as many excited comments about the titles as I did the paintings. But I like his work so much I actually bought a limited edition print of one of his pieces, curious in itself, as my finances strictly don't allow it. But this impulsive action taught me something that might be of use to you at some future crossroads, well, should you ever be married anyhow: upon reflection of the purchase, my wife turned to me, glowing a little with what I perceived as a particular feeling of validation and said, "see, we can't be in trouble, we buy art together."

No comments: