When one tries to imagine the ideal life of an artist, you might do worse than use Jill Baker’s experience as an example. Encouraged at the earliest age to make art, most notably by her artist grandmother, she majored in Fine Art in undergraduate studies at Baylor University. She traveled extensively and lived in Spain, Italy and South Korea. “In Spain I studied the masterpieces at the Prado. In Florence, Italy I painted under the masters at the Academia di Belle Arti. My work was in a major U.S. Exhibition in Paris and in Italy I was chosen for a one-person show at the prestigious Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. In Seoul, South Korea, I became an Artist In Resident and took advantage of the opportunity to create a major exhibition for the U.S. Information Services, exhibiting in the old American Embassy. I also was taken by the USIS to tour South Korean artists and universities, to lecture and lead workshops.”
For many people, that might have been enough, but Baker moved to New York City, where she exhibited, including two solos shows, before earning her MFA in Painting from Pratt Institute in NYC in 1981. Since then she has exhibited at galleries in major cities and galleries of the states of New York, California, Kentucky, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, and is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Evansville, Purdue University, and other institutions.
As is common with many full-time artists, Baker works on several pieces simultaneously, expressing herself in different styles. She describes her surreal collages, such as “Arizona,” as her most popular work. The upending of recognizable physical reality accomplished through the impossible juxtaposition of conflicting landscapes is compelling; a seamless merging that illustrates Baker’s great facility with medium.
“I have sought to be true to my strengths and have resisted other occupations and callings to become and remain a visual artist. I know it is a gift I have been given and in developing it, have tried to bring new and innovative visions to it.”
In 2011-12, Baker was a Visiting Professor of Art History at the University of Evansville, Evansville, IN, and since 2009 she has been Adjunct Professor, University of Southern Indiana, Department of Art, also in Evansville. In November 2016 she exhibited at Cook Studio and Gallery with Andy Cook and Debbie Welsh.
Baker is currently listed in Who's Who in the East, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Society, Who's Who in American Art, American Art Directory and Marquis Who's Who of American Women, in Community Leaders of America, Female Artists in the United States: a Research and Resource Guide, Fantastic Art and Artists Directory and the yearly listing in ArtNews.
Evansville Museum of Arts and Sciences, Evansville, IN
Goethe House, German Cultural Institute, New York, NY
Krannert Art Series, Purdue University, W.Lafayette IN
Bellarmine College, Merton Collection, Louisville, KY
St. Marks Priory, Fine Arts Collection, South Union, KY.
Alexander & Alexander, Inc., Omaha, Nebraska
Church of St. Thomas Aquinas, Bowling Green, KY
College of Education, Western Kentucky U., Bowling Green, KY
Selected Private Collections
Herman Rath Collection, Houston, Texas
Barton Simons Collection, Los Angeles, California
L. H. Dishman Collection, Washington, DC
Norman Wexler Collection, New York, New York
Dr. Lawrence Balter Collection, New York, New York
Wayne Kline Collection, Studio City, CA
Paul Nonte Collection, Jasper, IN
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: BA in Fine Arts, Baylor University (Waco, Texas); studied at the Academia di Belle Arti (Florence, Italy); MFA in Painting, Pratt Institute (New York City)
Gallery Representative: Manhattan Arts (New York City); Contemporary Arts Gallery (New Harmony, Indiana)
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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.