M.E. BAIRD - VISUAL ART
Parallel to his songwriting and music career, M.E. Baird has been a practising artist for over twenty years. He has a formal background in art, design and architecture and in a previous life was an academic, teaching and lecturing in architecture, art, design and creative philosophy at various universities and art schools in New South Wales and Victoria. Although no longer working in academia, he does offer workshops in art, creative thinking and songwriting.
The aesthetic and material values in M.E. Baird's artwork similar to his songwriting are determined by the idea that nothing ever ceases, there is always a need to keep distilling and de-pollute things – a continuous need to strip away the unwanted and superfluous to reveal the true nature. His works are not landscapes proper but are more like vignettes or theatrical stages, in that way, similar to his songwriting. Nor are they figurative, yet sometimes they contain recognisable objects. For M.E. Baird they are about movement and moment, a glimpse. What is being explored is the transition from one instantaneous thought, one emotion, one memory, one experience, to another.
Graphite & Ink...
Quite often the first initial spark of an idea begins in the graphite and occasionally in the ink works, where there is a compulsion to capture [it] and represent something in a detailed way. In the case of graphite, M.E. Baird utilises a painstaking process that begins with a hatching technique with a finely pointed pencil, an exhausting and at times painful technique that he has been using for decades. Then layers upon layers of rendering are applied to achieve a type of precision and exactness that is not about realism but focuses on form, scale, surface and light. The occasional use of single line ink works is more like an x-ray to reveal those things below the surface or not visible, whereby the combined graphite and ink works can be viewed as a divergent sidestep to confuse everything... a wormhole.
Over time there becomes a point of disconnection, a letting go of the attachment to this idea. This is where M.E. Baird moves from graphite and paper to canvas, board, paint, pigment and oil. Here, the idea is laid to rest as it were, represented as an imprint, an emblem of something that existed before. The precision is gone, the forms are sometimes violated with scratching and tearing or deformed. They become toneless in black and relegated to an afterthought, a ‘Legacy’ that is now devoid of precision, not as well defined anymore.