One to watch
Rebecca Baumann by Consuelo Cavaniglia
A recent issue of Art Collector features Rebecca Baumann in the section on ‘artists to watch in 2014’ and celebrated her Automated Colour Field on its front cover. Indeed her recent achievements suggest this Perth-based artist is poised to become a significant voice in contemporary Australia art.
Automated Colour Field, 2011 was developed during a six-month Culturia Residency in Berlin, which Rebecca regarded as an invaluable period of intensive research. On her return to Perth she produced the work with the support of a Department of Culture and the Arts Development Grant and presented it to great critical acclaim in NEW11 at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.
Further versions of the work exploring variations of scale and colour, were exhibited in significant exhibitions, including Primavera (2011). The works also entered important collections: the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Museum of Contemporary Art and private collections.
"The acquisition of Automated Colour Field by AGWA and the MCA was an importatnt momet in my artistic career.
Being represented in these significant collections, particularly within the state gallery of my home town, is very special," says Rebecca.
A further expansion of the work led to Colour Clock (CMYK), for the inaugural PICA Edition 2013 – a project that built on the long-standing relationship Rebecca has with the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts.
Other artworks have followed similar trajectories: her highly celebrated coloured smoke works were developed during a residency in India, made possible by the Qantas Spirit of Youth Award won in 2009. Back in Perth Rebecca presented Improvised Smoke Device, 2010, whichwent on to be shown in important national surveys at the MCA and QAG|GOMA. In 2012 the ISCP residency took Rebecca to New York for more intensive research – the spectacular Reflected Glory, 2013 was the result. Shown in LUMINOUSFLUX at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, the work is now the basis of a work to be shown this April at Carriageworks in Sydney, in collaboration with fashion label Romance Was Born.
The pattern in Rebecca’s research and artwork development is clear, and travel is at its core. Rebecca chooses to live and work in Perth, where she is supported by a strong professional network, yet she is aware of the geographical distance from larger art centres. “Distance is always an issue,” she says, going on to talk about her commitment to regularly connecting nationally and internationally in order to seek fresh input into her work and reach new audiences.
Perhaps surprisingly Rebecca does not have commercial representation in Perth. However, her recent affiliation with Starkwhite in Auckland has already seen the gallery present her work at Sydney Contemporary 13 and in September this year they will show new work at the gallery – Rebecca’s first solo exhibition in a commercial space. With a Mid-Career Fellowship received from DCA in 2013, Rebecca will no doubt once again maximize the potential of the opportunity presented to her. A talented and committed artist, she clearly sits comfortably on a national stage and with successful early forays into international platforms, the future is bright for Rebecca Baumann. She is undeniably ‘one to watch’.
Consuelo Cavaniglia is an artist and independent curator currently based in Sydney. She has exhibited in various galleries and artist run spaces and has curated a number of group and solo exhibitions with national and international artists. Her most recent projects have involved the presentation of ephemeral artworks in public spaces.
This article featured in the Artsource Newsletter, Autumn 2014.