Though Indianapolis artist Lesley Baker has a strong architectural background, she works mostly in ceramics, prints and sculpture. She layers her images to reflect the inner meanings as she perceives them. She has taught art and design in such prestigious schools as the University of California at Berkeley, the Mendocino Art Center, the Rhode Island School of Design, the Watershed Ceneter for Ceramic Arts of Newcastle, the Kohler Arts and Industry Program in Wisconsin, the Archie Bray Foundation, and the California College of Arts. Currently, she holds the position of Assistant Professor of Ceramics at the Herron school of Art and Design in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Lesley makes sculptural pieces in ceramics, which she has exhibited locally, across the nation and internationally. Along with the design and architectural aspects, her work has an interesting combination of western and eastern influences. She does unexpected things with her work, too, such as mounting a pair of her high-gloss flower-decorated bowls on a wall, or placing two framework windows with decorated panes next to each other at angles on a wall.
A surprising freshness permeates all of Lesley’s pieces. She might make a ceramic with layers of line drawings on it and include some all but invisible words of text. Or she might put some Japanese Kanji alongside English words, but backwards. A functional teapot with modern lines might be painstakingly covered with tiny Victorian flowers.
Her three-dimensional collection has been divided into three sections. One is “Freak Show,” consisting of strange, small ceramic animals mutated from commercial molds. Another sector is called “Stacks,” a reference to Lesley’s architectural background which plays such a heavy role in this group. These are pieces which stack together in odd ways to make a whole. The last three-dimensional collection is simply labeled “House,” and these consist of ceramic sculptures with architectural aspects such as a roof eave form.
Lesley has developed some complex image transfer techniques and often teaches them to other artists in workshops, as well as her methods of making special molds and slip casting.
Her ceramics have been featured in magazines, such as “Yixing Influence,” by Marvin Sweet, “500 Pitchers,” by Lark Books, “500 Cups,” by Suzanne Tourtillott, and “Tile Making and Installation,” by Angelica Pozo. She has mounted art shows around the world and she has won numerous awards. Lesley Baker has made a nice place for herself in the Indianapolis art community. Visit her website here: http://www.lesleybaker.com.
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