Press Release

March 3, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 3, 2022
MEDIA CONTACT: Brian Passey | BrianP@ScottsdaleArts.org | 480-874-4626

Teresa Baker’s hanging works at SMoCA channel vast Northern Plains landscapes

Teresa Baker, “Capturing Space,” 2021; willow, yarn, artificial sinew, Astroturf, 70 x 95 inches. Image courtesy of Forge project and de boer, Los Angeles.

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona ­— “Capturing Space,” a new solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based Mandan/Hidatsa artist Teresa Baker at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), will challenge the definitions of and traditions surrounding painting when it opens April 16.

The exhibition will feature seven large-scale hanging works that display Baker’s bold color fields and expanded scale, evoking modernist abstract artists such as Helen Frankenthaler and Mark Rothko.

“Teresa Baker’s work combines a deep knowledge of the history of painting with a contemporary awareness of what an expansive painting practice can be,” said Natasha Boas, Ph.D., SMoCA curator-at-large. “She pushes the boundaries of traditional painting of oil on canvas while infusing it with her own cultural references.”

Boas said Baker’s use of traditional Indigenous materials (buffalo hide, willow) combined with artificial and non-traditional painting materials (AstroTurf, artificial sinew) prompt questions like “Does painting have material limits?” and even “What is a painting?” Baker has a master of fine arts from California College for the Arts in San Francisco.

These new works were made in response to the high plains landscape of northeastern Wyoming, beneath the Bighorn Mountains. They were inspired by the vastness of that area, unique geological formations of giant rocks (and the flora fossils imprinted on them), petrified logs and the sky.

Baker, who is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes, created most of the pieces during a residency at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, where the landscape shares a Northern Plains aesthetic with her North Dakota homelands. Baker was a 2020 recipient of the Ucross Foundation’s Fellowship for Native American Visual Artists.

“My practice is inspired by the landscape of the Northern Plains, so to be in residence in this location, not far from where I am from, allowed me to tap even further into the vastness of the land and the topography of this place,” Baker said. “I focused on bringing the immensity of the land into the work through shape, color and texture, as well as combining the artificial and natural together.”

With “Capturing Space,” Baker has strived to not only embody that landscape but to also let the freedom of Northern Plains enter her work.

Jennifer McCabe, director and chief curator at SMoCA, said the museum is thrilled to bring the California-based Baker’s work to new audiences in the Valley.

“As one of three simultaneous solo exhibitions, these works reflect our institutional commitment to a diverse range of artists from different stages in their careers,” McCabe said. “I think Baker’s work will resonate in the Southwest, where histories of land and people have dynamic and complex relationships that are part of our contemporary dialogue.”

“Capturing Space” is organized by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art with Natasha Boas, PhD., curator-at-large. It will be on view April 16 through October 9, joining the current exhibitions “Beverly McIver: Full Circle” (through Sept. 4) and “Brad Kahlhamer: Swap Meet” (though Oct. 9).

SMoCA is located at 7374 E. Second St., Scottsdale, Arizona 85251. It is open Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., and on Thursdays, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Visit SMoCA.org for information.

Admission is $10 for non-members; $7 for students, seniors (65+) and veterans; and free for Scottsdale Arts ONE Members and patrons 18 and younger. Admission to the museum is free every Thursday and every second Saturday of the month. Timed-entry tickets are required. Save time by booking online at SMoCA.org. View our safety protocols at SMoCA.org/reopening-guidelines.

SMoCA would also like to thank the following 2021–22 sponsors:City of Scottsdale, Billie Jo Herberger, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Walter and Karla Goldschmidt Foundation, Institut Français and The S. Rex and Joan Lewis Foundation.