Media Arts Program
 


Saturday, March 10, 2012 — Friday, April 27, 2012

HARP is made possible by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the Foundation for Contemporary Art

Sarah Baker

Our Time

Hallwalls

Sarah Baker - <em>Our Time</em>
Sarah Baker - <em>Our Time</em>
Sarah Baker - <em>Our Time</em>
Sarah Baker - <em>Our Time</em>
Sarah Baker - <em>Our Time</em>

Sarah Baker - Our Time
For her residency project, Buffalo ex-pat Sarah Baker has produced Our Time, a multi-media soap opera project set in the Queen City. Though day-time soaps may be considered antiquated in today's media market, and are certainly disappearing from broadcast television, Baker uses the genre's nonlinear structure to experiment with repetition and interweaving story lines, modifying connections among characters regardless of time and space. As the story of Our Time unfolds in six Buffalo locations, Baker weaves a traditional soap opera plot complete with love, deception, lust, greed, secrecy and heartbreak, simultaneously celebrating and lampooning the genre. Our Time, true to the origins of the soap opera program, is complete with actual commercial advertisement breaks, all of them featuring actual Buffalo businesses, and one of them, in a nod to the Alfred Hitchcock cameo, stars Baker herself.

For Baker’s gallery exhibition that will include feature Our Time, her recent short film, Studs (2009, starring Wes Studi), a 10-minute conceptual homage to Jackie Collin’s The Stud (1978). Also shown will be photographic portraits from Baker’s Hollywood glamour series, Beauty Spread (2011) as well as portraits of Baker posing as Twin Peak’s Laura Palmer (2011). Lastly, in a section devoted to Baker’s interventions with Buffalo’s Airport Plaza Jewelers, video and photographs will be exhibited documenting Baker’s recent performance in a cash-for-gold commercial and as a guest star on The Kiosk Presents. Accompanying the exhibition and video is a soap opera weekly style magazine, Our Time Digest, created and edited by Sarah Baker and designed by Betsy Frazer of Frazer/Montague Design. The 60-page magazine—includes essays, splashy photo spreads, horoscopes and more, is part exhibition catalogue, part supermarket tabloid and art object.



The artist, who graduated from Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts in 1995, is visiting from the United Kingdom where she has worked as an artist since graduating from Goldsmith (2002). Based on her research into figures from local history and popular culture, Baker's vignettes re-imagine their relationship to Western New York.  What does a living room conversation in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House have to do with a secret elopement in Niagara Falls? How might an exchange of gold coins at the Adam Mickiewicz bar on Fillmore Avenue relate to a tarot reading set in the Artspace Buffalo lofts? Why does a City Honors High School class project about Airport Plaza Jewelers connect with a heated debate in Buffalo Common Council Chambers? These are just some of the elements—physical and conceptual—that make up Sarah Baker’s Buffalo- centric, fictional melodrama.

During the course of her residency Baker collaborated with an array of local talent for the production: actor/director Tim Newell as Co-Director, cinematographer Chris Santucci as Director of Photography, musician Joe Rozler as Musical Score Composer, psychic and master astrologer Ellen Bourn for character research, architectural historian Dr. Jack Quinan for location research, among others. Our Time features a diverse ensemble of Buffalo-based actors.Jerome (Vincent O’Neill) is a self-made millionaire and a work-a-holic, troubled by the unsettling dream of his devoted wife, Cindy (Kristen Tripp Kelley). Equally worrisome for Jerome is the unexpected return of Joan (Josie DiVincenzo) who has a secret plot to overthrow Jerome’s company at the expense of the beloved Elmwood Village—unless she can be stopped by community activist, Brice (Frank Rossi). Cindy’s haunting dreams suggest that Missy (Diane Di Bernardo), Tanya (Tilke Hill), and Gina (Jessica Wegrzyn) are about to change their lives forever. Jack (Andrew Kottler) has a plan to save his father, Little Bill (Stewart Roth), but as Kerry (Megan Callahan) can attest, at what cost to Missy and Gina? Levity-infused adolescent drama breaks the tension as Drea (Rasheedah Muhammad), George (VerNia Sharisse Garvin) and Holden (Daniel Henderson) interview Buffalo Airport Plaza Jeweler’s Don Hoffman for a class project. Meanwhile, in Niagara Falls, the honeymoon of Caroline (Selina Kaye) and Jim (Paul Spitale) quickly turns from champagne and roses to eavesdropping and deception, and reminds us of Jerome and Cindy’s ultimate dilemma.

About Sarah Baker:
Sarah Baker was born in San Francisco, CA in 1977 and raised in Buffalo, NY, attending the Bennett Park Montessori and Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts. She received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute (2001) and an MA in Fine Arts from Goldsmiths College, London, UK (2002). She has exhibited, performed, and screened at Carter Presents Gallery, London (solo show, Le Fan Fan, 2010), the Mission Cultural Center, San Francisco (Today, 2010), the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (Year of the Ox, 2009), the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (The Bird’s Eye View Film Festival, 2009), the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, Australia (One of Us Cannot Be Wrong, 2008), DeBond, Belgium (Boost in the Shell, 2005), the Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Belgium (solo show, A Portrait of Bill May, 2005 and When The Mood Strikes: Collection of Wifried and Yannicke Cooreman, 2009), and the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, UK (Now is Good, 2004), among other venues. Baker's 2008 exhibition, Studs, was hailed by The Times of London as one of the top five recommended exhibitions among Lucian Freud, Andy Warhol, and Francis Bacon. Baker's upcoming endeavors include a solo show at the University of Hertfordshire Gallery, UK where she will work with the University film department to create new work.
www.sarahbaker.com

 
 
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IN THE GALLERY
from Nov. 10, 2017
through Dec. 22, 2017
 

Laylah Ali
Paintings and Drawings


Laylah Ali's work explores power dynamics and interpersonal conflict through compositions that position culturally, racially and sexually ambiguous figures in precarious, loaded, and unexpectedly humorous situations. Ali uses concise—even minimal—imagery that is specific in rendering and intent. While there are narratives in Ali's work, they are stories whose open spaces often give them the atmosphere of fables.