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Sarratt  displays whimsical pieces



David G. Baldwin’s “A Most Humorous Sadness” typifies his slant on Shakespeare’s characters.

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, artist.

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.


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Last modified: 27 October 2007