Donald Baechler's "The Smile and the Falling (Yellow)," 2014, nods to Texas. All artwork images courtesy the artist, McClain Gallery and Cheim & Read.
In "The Rules and the Jars," 2015, Baechler shows himself to be a master of collage and adept at employing a concise codex of images.
Who doesn't need a giant ice cream cone? Donald Baechler's "The Whispering We," 2015, serves the perfect scoop.
The artist's big bronze "Telephone," 2011, typified the droll vibe of the McClain Gallery exhibition.
Donald Baechler‘s good-humored collages, bronzes and canvases — now on view at McClain Gallery — may not be political commentary, but their shorthand codex of symbols creates a sense of whimsy along the lines of a contemporary Miró or Klee. The New York-based mid-career artist serves up a refreshing anecdote to today’s searing headlines via a delightful litany of characters and iconography, which are paired (especially in the case of the works on paper) with background imagery that gradually unfolds upon attentive viewing.
This second-generation Pop master may not be breaking new ground, but he’s one of the best at creating memorable images with a sense of droll effortlessness while still mining drama within each work, provided by a primary image and the push/pull of its accompanying background.
Also worth a close examination are the artist’s bronzes. With their intriguingly worked-over surfaces, they exemplify his prowess in that sculptural medium.
Donald Baechler, “The Planet of Memory,” at McClain Gallery, Houston, through June 13.