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DAN BALDWIN | ‘IMAGINARY PARADISE’ | NEW PRINT EDITION
October 3rd 2019
Dan Baldwin is best known for his bright and bold images that splash contemporary pop-art colours across the canvas in the form of expressive mark-making, carefully drawn graphic imagery, collage, and found objects. He once described his work as ‘starting with colour’ and this has certainly been true across his almost 30 years of practice. It is perhaps surprising then, to see Baldwin take a different approach in his most recent work as he experiments with a new monochromatic palette that strips away his usually explosive colour, and instead presents us with the stark contrast of pure black and white.
by Tessa Yee
PRINT EDITION RELEASE
Reflecting Baldwin’s recent experiments with monochrome in his paintings, his new print edition, Imaginary Paradise, is the artist’s first print with only two colours. This may seem like an unexpected shift away from the brightly coloured works he is best known for, but in Imaginary Paradise we can still recognise some of the artist’s typical motifs. Baldwin uses subtly drawn details to touch on elements of realism. Familiar motifs such as the flowers and plants, the bird, and the slightly sinister crooked branches found in previous works. However, despite the figurative aspects to this work, the overall image is intended to be an imagined one. As his title suggests, Imaginary Paradise is not based on real life, but instead, an idea. The result is an enigmatic and haunting work where the beautifully drawn plants and images appear only slightly surreal as they float across the page, pulling us out of the black abyss behind.

This surprising sense of movement and depth is one that is distinctive from what has been seen in earlier works. While previously Baldwin’s bright colours injected an energetic movement and almost intentional chaos into his paintings, in Imaginary Paradise the artist uses the monochromatic palette to create a calming sense of dream-like ambiguity. The flowers and plants seem to hover in mid-air, moving in and out of focus as your eyes move across the paper. Movement is not lost, but is instead presented in a new way, formed through the contrast between the positive and negative spaces.
DAN BALDWIN
Imaginary Paradise, 2019

Edition of 35
6 Artist Proof (APs)

79(w) x 100(h) cm
31.10(w) x 39.37(h) inches
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Dan Baldwin (British, b. 1972)
79(w) x 100(h) cm
31.10(w) x 39.37(h) inches
4 colour screenprint with hand-torn edge on Somerset Satin White 410gsm

Signed and numbered by the artist on front.
Edition of 35
PRICE
$ 2,070.00
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A painter first and foremost, this process is integral to Baldwin’s works, and Imaginary Paradise was originally created as a painting before its translation to the print medium. The painting process allowed Baldwin to utilise his more spontaneous approach and gestural mark making that he applies to all of his works. The translation of this image to a print can be seen as a new interpretation of the work, with silkscreen lending itself perfectly to the experimentation with colour and layering that is central to Baldwin’s process.

Baldwin sees the printing process as a collaborative one, where the print-studio works closely with the artist to interpret his vision. The original image acts as a point of departure from which the final print can be translated, rather than reproduced. The final print of Imaginary Paradise is presented in elegant matt black ink that absorbs naturally on the surface creating a stunning contrast to the white imagery. Alongside the delicately hand-torn edges of the paper, we can see the variations in the mark making, the natural lines and the random splotches of paint, which all reflect Baldwin’s original hand-work and remind us of the artist’s presence.

In all of Baldwin’s works he is trying to find harmony between the elements of the composition, colour, and the various imagery that make up a work. He carefully builds up his layers, working instinctively to add or subtract elements until he finds that perfect balance. Unique to this work, the bold contrast of the black and white used in Imaginary Paradise, allows each stroke of the brush to stand out visibly. The absence of multi-colours, which can often excite and confuse the eye, means the viewer must focus on the drawn elements - the detailed lines versus the bolder flat strokes.

Perhaps even more so than in his works that showcase a multitude of colours, in Imaginary Paradise, the careful composition and the placement of each element is vital to uphold the harmony of the work. The monochromatic palette is both brave and unforgiving - not allowing any element to hide, nor take centre stage.

You can find the new print edition, Imaginary Paradise, and other work by Dan Baldwin on his artist page here.
 
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