| Give a Gift |

  • Digital Edition

The Written Image: Richard Baker

As more readers choose a nifty gadget like the Amazon Kindle over a hefty new hardcover, or a flashy iPhone application such as Stanza over the soft dog-ears of a well-worn paperback, those who still appreciate objects made solely of paper, ink, and glue will likely respond to the work of forty-nine-year-old painter Richard Baker. The images below are taken from the artist's series of book "portraits," which he began painting in 2004.

"Books have always been important to me," Baker wrote in a statement about the portraits for a benefit exhibition held at the Mark Twain House in Hartford in December. "As physical objects they are powerful fetishes, icons, containers of every conceivable thought and/or emotion. They come to stand for various episodes of our lives, for certain idealisms, follies of belief, moments of love. Along the way they accumulate our marks, our stains, our innocent abuses—they come to wear our experience of them on their covers and bindings like wrinkles on our own skin." Baker says it took anywhere from one to three weeks to complete each 12 x 10 1/2-inch gouache portrait. But that doesn't account for the time spent "fishing the used bookstores in search of the right thing," he says: "no precious first editions, no rare things—just your common companions."

Credit: Used with permission of Richard Baker (rcdbaker@earthlink.net)

Reader Comments

Article Permissions
The Written Image: Richard Baker (January/February 2009)

In the details box below, please include information about the reprint permissions you'd like granted.

Thank you for your permissions request. We do our best to respond immediately, but it may take up to three business days.

Special Features

Subscribe to P&W Magazine | Donate Now | Advertise | Sign up for E-Newsletter | Help | About Us | Contact Us | View Mobile Site

© Copyright Poets & Writers 2016. All Rights Reserved