Teresa Baker’s compositions engage in a universe of varied shapes, colors, and lines that are bold, graphic, and distinctively personal. Laid down on colored artificial turf, her work moves between landscape and abstraction. The unlikely combination of yarn and artificial turf allows Baker to draw intuitively and without overdetermination, laying down lines that are easily revised, reshaped, and replaced. The different textures of the materials she employs contrast with the kinesthetic flow of the drawing-like gestures that she uses to create her compositions. Baker’s work references the relationship between indigenous subjectivity and land sovereignty, not through literal references but by subverting the forms of representation of maps that have served as tools of the colonial enterprise. In her work, entities float amid graphic universes populated by dots, uneven lines, and organic shapes that might be references to sacred places or personal memories of hiking routes and sites. Abstractions like Baker’s inherit the possibility of landscape while also refusing such clear-eyed dominion.
Teresa Baker (b. 1985, Watford City, North Dakota) is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes in western North Dakota. She received a BA from Fordham University in 2008 and an MFA from California College of the Arts in 2013. She has had solo exhibitions at de boer, Los Angeles (2021); Interface Gallery, Oakland (2019); Gray Contemporary, Houston (2018); and Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont (2016), among other sites. Baker has exhibited widely in the San Francisco Bay Area at venues such as Kiria Koula (2015); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (2014); di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art (2014); Luggage Store Gallery (2014); and CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts (2012). Baker has been an artist-in-residence at Fogo Island Arts (2022), MacDowell (2015), and Headlands Center for the Arts (2014–15). She is the recipient of the 2020 Native American Fellowship for Visual Artists at the Ucross Foundation.