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Jamie Baxter: Tartan/Borracho 1998
Jamie Baxter has been painting for more than 35 years. His family was deeply involved in harness racing. This upbringing greatly influenced his work; the relationships between humans and animals inspire some of his earlier paintings such as the Mexican Horse Dress paintings and the Domestic/Wild Animal paintings.
Baxter received a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (Halifax, NS, 1996), having also studied at the Art Students’ League (New York City, 1984). Previous to this, he studied painting at the Instituto d’Allende (San Miguel d’Allende, Mexico, 1973). This experience established an ongoing attraction to the culture(s) of Mexico.
The tartan paintings combine traditional Scottish tartan patterns with Aztec stone carvings of animals. Keeping Baxter’s diverse background in mind, in his catalogue essay for Jamie Baxter Paintings (1998), curator Gordon Laurin says of Baxter’s tartan paintings, ... there is a tension between two cultural sources which is central to these works. Baxter, Scottish by descent, claims no personal identification with tartans but has a fascination with Mexican culture ...The paintings tamper with the usual paths of cultural history and identity. The two are not intended to sit together.
As well, there is a distinct surface quality to Baxter’s paintings. He layers a multitude of loose and heavy brushstrokes that become the under-painting(s) of his final images. Both Origins and the tartan paintings illustrate this technique.
The tartan paintings were exhibited in Jamie Baxter Paintings at the Acadia University Art Gallery (Wolfville, NS, 1998). Origins was exhibited in Far & Wide: The VANS 20th Anniversary Exhibition, which was shown at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Halifax, NS, 1996) and the University College of Cape Breton Art Gallery (Sydney, NS, 1996-1997).
KB and MT