dm contemporary NYC is proud to present new paintings by Philadelphia-based artist Steven Baris in a solo exhibition named after his series, 'Geometries of Flow'. In these paintings, mostly oils on canvas or Mylar, and several acrylics on Plexiglas, the artist continues to investigate the individual's spatial experiences in an increasingly built-up environment. Exurban sprawl in particular, has both intrigued and exasperated Baris equally for some time. Reserving judgment, the artist considers whether this rapid expansion, into regions that were once rural, may be a turning point fundamentally transforming the American landscape. Baris' work has been exhibited in several group shows at dm contemporary, including Suburbia Revisited, a three person show, in 2013. This will be his first one-person show with the gallery and his first one-person show in New York. The exhibition which opens on Friday, March 21st, with a reception for the artist from 6 - 8 pm, remains on view through May 3rd, 2014.
Having spent his childhood years on various American Indian reservations in California, Montana, and Washington State (because his father worked for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs), Steven Baris recalls how astounded he was upon encountering architecture outside the reservations so 'different' from the architecture that he was familiar with. This biographical experience heightened Baris' awareness of his surroundings and provided a unique perspective which continues to inform his work today. Of particular interest is the proliferation of horizontal, massive box-like structures in low density areas beyond metropolitan areas and their suburbs - usually at the intersection of major highways. These sites, referred to as distribution centers, function primarily as storage centers from which the distribution of wares to the ever sprawling cities and suburbs occurs. Using aerial photography, and satellite imagery as reference and source material, Baris creates paintings that 'document', almost in a site plan-like fashion, the compositional elements of these sites. In the "Geometries of Flow' series, the silhouettes of stark geometric forms lie scattered against a lush, painterly surface, that is rich in both color and texture. The polygons are sometimes connected to each other by bands of color, like conduits, and other times are left disconnected, but there is a deliberate omission of any basic spatial cues within the pictorial space. The unpredictable color juxtapositions, and the absence of any indication of near or far, above or below, create a spatial ambiguity intended, as Baris describes, "... to enact similar spatial tensions and paradoxes as the environments I am referencing.".
Steven Baris was born in Aberdeen, Washington. He currently lives and teaches art in the Philadelphia area. He received a B.A. from The Evergreen State College and an M.F.A. from the Tyler School of Art. His work has been exhibited in many nationally-recognized galleries and cultural institutions. Baris is the recipient of many grants - most recently, in 2013, he was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in Painting. His work is included in major corporate collections as well as numerous private collections in North America, Europe and Australia. Baris' work has been reviewed in various publications including The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Art in America.