Vanderbilt students take pride in a well- rounded
student body with its balance of athletics, academics, arts and
extracurricular activities. In that diverse spirit, the paintings of San
Diego artist David G. Baldwin fit appropriately in the Sarratt Student
Center Gallery. His exhibit "Brief Candles: The Shakespeare
Series" is testament to Baldwin's employment experience as a systems
engineer, geneticist, professional baseball player and, most recently,
The paintings reflect Baldwin's
interpretation of Shakespearean character's mind-sets. Baldwin says that
through the paintings, "the artist can concentrate on those elements
of an image that can heighten the viewer’s surprise, amusement,
curiosity, fantasy." He calls his style "figurative
abstraction," loosely basing the forms on realistic figures, only
with a whimsical spin.
In a scene from 'The Tempest entitled "Evolution of the
Spirit," Baldwin captures the progression of Prospero the magician and Caliban
the slave in the ideal of the perfect spirit. Baldwin employs cubes and
futurist-inspired lines to create a sense of cosmic energy.
Some of the works transcended limits of conventional
painting, incorporating materials such as gauze, linen, sand and hair. ”Slumbery
Agitation,” a scene from Macbeth, contains some of these
materials, whose texture emphasizes the emptiness of the character’s
skull and the vacant eyes.
In “Robin’s Mistake” from A Midsummer Night’s
Dream, Baldwin’s Cubist styling mimics the Shakespearean scene
effectively. Just as Robin misperceives Oberon's command in the play, so
too does Baldwin reinterpret the notion of the figure, destroying and
rebuilding the human figures in true Cubist manner.
Baldwin's most intriguing piece is “Most Humorous
Sadness,” a scene from As You Like It. The title is an oxymoron,
named after character Jacques’ own description of his travels. The
shaky, exaggerated forms in the work suggest sadness and uncertainty,
while the cool hued colors used blend delightfully in opposition.
“Brief Candles” is on display in Sarratt Gallery
through Feb. 10.