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Lydia Baker

​Wilder gallery is pleased to exhibit a new series of drawings and monotypes by Lydia Baker. This is the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery and first presentation in the UK.

Undulating mountainous peaks, flowing rivers and pools of water demark the landscape of Lydia Baker's alluring and mysterious world. The recurring motif of water symbolises vitality, fertility, purity, rest and respite. These landscapes make reference to female anatomy, sometimes subtly with fluid and feminine forms and at times more directly, such as the abstracted torso in Only Under The Light Of The Moon. Natural, physical elements are animated and humanized. In Two Worlds Collide, roots look vein-like and soil horizons take on the appearance of human tissue. The artist references ovulation with clusters of egg-like seed pods and the recurring motif of the glowing moon. These are matriarchal environments where fantasy, anatomy and the spiritual intermingle confidently, poetically and unapologetically and intrigue, awe and haunt.

Rich harmonious spectrums of respective pink or blue palettes colour the drawings. Popular conceptions of pink allude to sweetness, playfulness, nostalgia and nurturing. When combined with magentas and corals they become complex and full-bodied, taking on a more serious and fiery intensity. Blue is often understood as a calming, tranquil, peaceful and spiritual colour. Conversely, it also has associations with depression, anxiety, gloom and feeling 'blue'. Baker describes the colour shifts as depicting the same dreamscapes at different times of the day and taking on different moods. In Only Under the Light of the Moon, a figure is seen emerging with small spikes across her body and in Two Worlds Collide, a blue figure with red thorns seemingly trespasses the pink fantasy world. Lighter values allude to distant memories and dreams whereas darker values denote the present. When these highly contrasted values are used together, reality is hazy, the time of day becomes unclear and waking life, dreams and imagination confound. In Memories and a Small Body of Water, the dark blue figure is relaxing but confronted with 'memories' of the floating figures of her past. With day turning to night and the ebb and flow of colour, there is a sense of shifting temperatures, changing seasons, phases of the menstrual cycle, and of one's internal ticking clock. Time is at the forefront of what has transpired, memories revisited and anticipation for what is still hopeful.

Dotted within the landscape are watchful, matriarchal figures; gentle giants that oversee, cradle, offer guardianship and protection, and perhaps both observe and learn. The juxtaposition of scale of the landscape and figures further heightens the unsettling, uncanny and surreal nature of these dreamscapes. In the monotypes, the maternal figures take the center depicting nurturing, devotion, sacrifice and universal life stages of menstruation, conception, and birth.

The artist's choice of working with colour pencil is deliberate. For many, childhood memories recall moments spent sitting and drawing with colour pencils, creating from imagination. There is a familiarity and beautiful tenderness to this connection that the artist builds upon. Informed by her own experience of living within a female body and interpretations of cycles of time and change, she engages with multiple layers of experience. Furthermore, Baker is also challenging preconceptions of drawings as preliminary studies for paintings and invites a dialogue about the misconceptions of material hierarchy in the art world. Created with a tremendous amount of labour-intensive mark-making, a mastery of colour development and layering, and using high quality museum grade pigments, Baker contributes a compelling argument to the ongoing conversation and expands dialogues of what her medium can deliver.


January 2023


Lydia Baker (b. 1990, Norfolk, VA) lives and works  in Brooklyn, NY

2020 New York Academy of Art, MFA in painting
2013 Virginia Commonwealth University, BFA in Communication Arts & Design
2022 In Between (solo), Massey Klein Gallery, New York, NY
2021 Exit Point (duet), Sugarlift Gallery, NYC
2022   Platform Art, Massey Klein Gallery in partnership with David Zwirner
2022 Charta, Fortnight Institute, New York, NY (online)
2021 Chubb Insurance booth, Art Basel Miami, Miami Beach, FL
Chubb Fellows, Wilkinson Gallery, NYAA, New York, NY
New York Academy of Art booth, Art Miami, Miami, FL
Artists for Artists benefit auction, Sotheby’s, New York, NY
Six New Voices for the Twenties, Susan Eley Fine Arts, New York, NY (online)
2020 Chubb Insurance Viewing Room, Art Basel Miami (online)
Artists for Artists benefit auction, Sotheby’s, New York, NY (online)
The Feminine Agenda, Women’s Work Art Gallery, Poughkeepsie, NY
2019 IPCNY Printfest, International Print Center, New York, NY

2023 Vermont Studio Center Residency, Johnson, VT (forthcoming January)
2021 Constance Saltonstall Foundation Residency, Ithaca, NY
High Line Nine x Sugarlift Artist Residency, New York, NY
City Artist Corps Grant, via NYFA, DCLA, MOME & Queens Theatre
2020-21 Post Graduate Chubb Fellowship, New York Academy of Art, New York, NY
2020 Art Heals Grant, R&F Handmade Paints & IEA
2018-19 Academy Merit Scholarship, New York Academy of Art, New York, NY
2019 Artist Teaching Residency, The Grier School, Tyrone, PA
2013 Women’s Artist Residency for Transcendental Awareness, Seneca Forest, WV
2023 Spotlight: Contemporary Artist Lydia Baker, The Wick
2022 New American Paintings, No.158- pgs 162-165, Northeast Issue
Art Maze Magazine, London, UK, Issue 27- pgs 98-99, Print Publication
New Visionary Magazine, Issue 2- pgs 86-87, Print Publication
2021 Art Maze Magazine, London, UK, Issue 22- pg 141, Print Publication
Artsin Square Magazine, Issue 1- pgs 96-97, Print Publication
Friend of the Artist, Volume 14- pgs 34-37, Print Publication
Artsy: How to responsibly collect work by MFA students, Online Publication
2020 Juxtapoz Magazine: Art in Uncertain Times, Online Publication

Lydia Baker
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