I am drawn to spaces that are engineered to be placeless: from interiors to landscapes–spaces that are highly disorienting and are precisely designed to be passed through as quickly and efficiently as possible. Think airports, expressways and lobbies. Lately I’ve been frequenting similar kinds of spaces—no less enigmatic and no less banal: those sprawling tracts dotted about the edges of the cities and suburbs, characterized by the clotted networks of expressways and county roads and, most importantly to me, those massive, horizontal structures variously called distribution centers or logistics centers.
These largely overlooked yet high functioning “landscapes” disclose many of the same spatial tensions and enigmas that I address in my art making. At the heart of both lies an amalgam of space and structure, both largely determined by seen and unseen geometries. In my paintings and projects I conjure a sense of space that is highly elastic and ambiguous. I aim to juggle and confound those key oppositions that underpin spatial coherence: those basic binaries such as close-distant, container-contained, surface-depth, opaque-transparent, and so on.
I never really know the true nature of my fascinations and certainly not these forays (actual and artistic) into various states of disorientation and dislocation. Yet I feel we are experiencing unprecedented transformations of our built and virtual environments, and so ultimately these works are neither more nor less than my playful stabs at a better understanding.
Steven Baris received his MFA from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, PA. He studied at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA and at Instituto Allende, San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. Baris has exhibited widely in the US and internationally, in museums and institutions: Ely Center of Contemporary Art, New Haven, CT; Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE; Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA; Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Summit, NJ; Atelierhof Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany; INTERNATIONAL BIENNIAL OF NON OBJECTIVE ART, Pont de Claix, France; Kunstlerhaus Dosenfabrik, Hamburg, Germany; Carnegie Mellon University Art Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA; The Drawing Center, New York, NY, and more. His work is included in numerous corporate and private collections across North America, Europe and Australia.