Art Focus; Rebecca Baumann

By Laura Green

Renowned modern artist, Rebecca Baumann, is one of several artists featured in the Art Gallery of Western Australia’s new annual exhibition, focusing on talented local artists.

Light Work (2016); theatre spotlights, dichroic film, acrylic. (Source: Laura Green)

Light Work (2016); theatre spotlights, dichroic film, acrylic. (Source: Laura Green)

Rebecca Baumann, an upcoming West Australian artist, recently completed an artists’ residency in Helsinki, Finland, and has now come back home, with her work being featured in the Art Gallery of Western Australia’s (AGWA) “WA Focus” exhibition.
Baumann has had an explosive introduction to the fine arts scene, after graduating from Curtin University in 2003, and having previously been invited to hold residency placements in India, Germany, and New York.

Her solo exhibition, Manoeuvres, featured in the Fremantle Arts Centre last year. She is noted for her innovative work that intertwines colour, light, and movement to evoke a range of strong emotions.

Rebecca Baumann is now the concentration of the AGWA’s “WA FOCUS” exhibition, a retrospective which aims to represent a demographic of Western Australian artists. The exhibition was created to show modern work of a variety of media, gender, and identity.

Baumann’s exploration of vibrant colour is a concurrent theme which has long flowed through her body of work. Throughout her work, she creates many site-specific installation pieces with the major focus of bringing about a variety of emotional responses in her audience.

Automated Colour Field (below) is a rectangular piece which features one hundred flip clocks that irregularly rotate the colourful cards, resulting in a new demographic of pattern emerging all the time.

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Automated Colour Field (2011), 100 flip clocks, laser-cut paper, duration 24 hours. Source: AGWA website

Automated Colour Field is reminiscent of an arrival departure board, according to Baumann, but lacks the austerity of the object. Baumann attributes these abstract representations of real-world paraphernalia as a product of “an interest in materials, and a curiosity… in the world around me.”

“It’s just thinking about the world and the objects that are in it, and… our relationship to them, and that’s sort of been the driving force and the thing which has kept me going,” she said in an interview with AGWA.

The abstract exploration of emotion shows Baumann’s fluid understanding of the inner self. Her work creates a self-reflection of her individual experience and identity, while maintaining a simplistic composition so that her pieces remain accessible to her viewers.

In her interview, Baumann expresses that she finds her creative inspiration by asking the simple question, “what would happen if…?”

Baumann’s residency in Helsinki exposed her to a completely new environment; she aimed to find that “vast experience of light and colour” which only the Northern Lights of the Arctic could present. This revelation led to the creation of one of the exhibition’s most immersive pieces, “Light Work” (2016). “There’s this very cosmic experience of feeling quite small,” she reveals.

She states she aims for “colour to be the subject and the object” of her work, shedding light on her creative processes which highlight the importance and simplicity of colour in revealing meaning and emotion.

Baumann’s exhibit is running at the Art Gallery of Western Australia until the 22nd August 2016. You can find out more information the exhibition at AGWA’s website.

Mixed Feelings (2012), paper, feed tray, Arduino, microcontroller, driver circuits/electronics, remote control, IR receiver. Source via AGWA website.

Mixed Feelings (2012), paper, feed tray, Arduino, microcontroller, driver circuits/electronics, remote control, IR receiver. Source via AGWA website.

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