An intimate exhibition. Three walls and an entrance, the space suits the purpose.
Erica Baum’s exhibition the bite in the ribbon at gallery Crèvercœur presents twelve new works from Erica Baum’s Patterns-series. The works are equally intimate: The grained quality of the paper refers ancient papyrus and suggests fragility. The forms are indiscernible, but need not to be so: They rest in place, as if they ever had.
The images are made up of lines, circles, amorphous and geometric shapes, elementary forms for the mayor part. Their visuality recalls Eduardo Chillida, Ellsworth Kelly, Hans Arp. Modernity at its peak. Then again, the works seem timeless with works like Vest Cut Piece (Patterns), 2022, or Sleeve Crosswise (Patterns), 2022, resembling the forms of prehistoric or indigenous cultures.
The Pattern-series consists of photographic images taken from sewing instructions and selvages from accompanying sewing guides. Taken out of their original context, these images become studies, capriccios or modern masterpieces.
The by times clumsy forms and loose words carry something childish and funny. Their gesture is innocent and decisive at the same time. A simple but necessary statement. The restraint colouring in Black and yellow-ish white underlines this necessity. The few lines in red, blue, and green seem a tongue-in-cheek comment on the elsewise precision.
The knitting as well the geometrical shapes in the images build a reference to female artists of the Bauhaus such Gunta Stölzl, Annie Albers, or Sonja Delaunay. This connection places the works in a tradition of 20th-century women artists exploring form and visual language.
Originating in photography and linguistics, this exploration in Erica Baum’s work is enriched by a specific element of language. By separating individual words and placing them as visual protagonists, words like „cliff“, or „brim“ suddenly take on an existence of their own, as form, perhaps figure i.e. a human signal intervening in the abstract image. The works thus form a junction between photography, abstraction, poetry, and word art.
The word ‘pattern’ both describes a visual, often textile motif and a repetitive strain of action. Erica Baum’s pattern is the use of language, i.e. words, and photography and abstracting both from their original context. The resulting images constitute a type of their own, startling and tricking the viewer – making the viewing a pleasant bite in the ribbon.