February 29 to April 3
Marian Art Gallery
Monday through Friday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 1 to 4 p.m.
A cow with antlers and a saddle on its back jumps into the air. Square sunflowers play off of Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflowers. A pastel couple holding onto each other look out into the distance.
The visionary behind these images is Milwaukee-based Reginald Baylor who is the current artist featured in the Marin Art Gallery. His studio, Reginald Baylor Studio, is located on Buffalo Street.
Baylor said that many of the pieces came from what was leftover in his studio. He described them as being some of his more experimental paintings. The paintings that he believes were over shadowed when they were shown before.
“I think they’re still kind of overlooked, but for me, they’re some genuine expressions,” Baylor said.
The pieces of furniture are the only new pieces in the show. Baylor painted them in his basement while his studio was transition. He has plans for more.
“If you look at a lot of my paintings, I do have paintings where they’re paintings of furniture…,” Baylor said. “I just sort of took the furniture out of the painting and put it in front of people.”
Baylor wanted his pieces to be able to be mass produced. The idea came from seeing the relevance of factories to the blue collar or middle class economy in America during 15 years as a truck driver.
“As a truck driver, I just saw all the factories keep leaving and closing and closing,” Baylor said. “The communities around the factories just got poorer and poorer. From an artist standpoint, I thought why don’t we just create really cool things and start making them again.”
The themes in Baylor’s work come from the subjects he observes.
“I see a beautiful house and I take a picture or if I see a clipping in a magazine, I’ll clip it out and put it in a box,” Baylor said. “I’ll go can see a paintings around that. There’s usually one image, but you build a story off of that one image.”
Baylor said that the stories in his paintings are prayers, and prayers can be about love, fear, hate, anger, happiness, selfishness, righteousness. Most of his icons represent one of those prayers. The square basketball represents the impossible. While the square watermelon represents what is possible because in Japan, there are squares watermelons. Dr. Seuss thing one and two represent chaos.
“We all know how chaos just comes into your world and you don’t how it happened and you don’t know how you invited it in and you hope everything gets cleaned up before mom comes home,” Baylor said. “That happens every day. That happens in relationships. It happens at work. It happens on the freeway.”
Baylor’s advice to art students is to research starting a business, whether it is in a class or through a search online. Being accepted by galleries or being published is not necessary better than selling your work.
“If you want to be an artist, you have to live in a land in which everyone wants art,” Baylor said. “So it’s the artist responsibility to create that culture and to provide the talent. Artists are like basketball players without gyms or stadiums. We have museums, but a lot of our great schools don’t have art rooms, but they all have gyms.”
Baylor on Dear MKE
Check Out More of His Work