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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Megan Baker photography at AJ Kane

Megan Baker, a Chicago Photographer, has a show opening Friday at the new AJ Kane Gallery at 119 N Peoria. I met with Megan to see her work and talk about her process as well as her relationship to photography; how it has evolved, and her plans for continuing to hone that relationship.

To look at Megan's work you wouldn't know she is only eighteen. Her imagery references dystopian films and the decay of small towns in the United States. The light in Megan's photographs remind me of the calm before a storm, thick and filled with potential. Her skies are often dense with cloud cover, and although they are only photographs, each one seems to have a soundtrack of either rustling leaves, wind, or the creaking boards of a ramshackle house. These soundtracks come from dozens of movies, performers, and paintings where Megan is informing her imagery, and although we very well may have seen this before, I think the work has a special quality all its own.

I was surprised to here that Megan only takes photos she thinks will work with her process. Not mucking about with dozens of photos that she knows won't work is probably a great time saver. Normally, I wouldn't think this to be a great idea, but it seems to work wonderfully for Megan as all of her photos are top notch.

As I spent time with Megan's photos they did speak to me, but they did so as paintings. I talked with Megan about her process and she references manipulating colors. As she sits with her photos she works with them, just like a painter would work with a canvas, building her composition with color and toying with mood and exploring the image. That sort of care for every pixel is the future of image manipulation in art, and I can only hope the Megan keep making great work and pushing herself and her art to new levels.

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