Artist Jebah Baum Seeks A Collective Awakening

For the ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine winter 2020 issue, the recent work of artist Jebah Baum is analyzed through the eyes of his daughter, Ella Baum.

“What Do They See” (l); “This Happened, Torsion Object” (r)

Ever since I was a little girl I have anthropomorphized my father’s imagery, seeking something familiar within his compositions. I knew though, that these likenesses were just happy accidents, the unintended results of the extemporaneous processes of creation. Although we may see recognizable forms in the shadows of his abstractions, he has the uncanny ability to make pictures that appear familiar and yet do not represent anything except for the advent of their own arrival. His art inspires us to draw connections between the work and ourselves, to find resonances within our own lived experience and the one that he has created. Through his imagery we are able to appreciate the ineffable; the beauty or the feeling of a thing without fully comprehending it.

“League” (l); “Drop (Conditional Response)” (r)

Made during the first months of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Jebah Baum’s recent lithographs evoke the sense of a collective awakening to our individual place in the world and an incipient awareness of the vulnerability of our species. Substituting a paper matrix for traditional materials like stone or metal, Baum has produced a group of playfully poetic graphic images. His process is as fluid and spontaneous as it is fragile and thus he is only able to achieve a few unique impressions from each plate before they start to degrade. When viewed as a group, we observe a gridlike architecture – each frame a looking glass into a distinct environment. Much like in Hitchcock’s “Rear Window,” the rectangle acts like a portal into an encapsulated slice of reality.

“Gathering” (l); “Enclosure” (r)

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