Lily Martine BaxterSan Francisco, CA
I make oil paintings and drawings about family, identity, home and the passage of time. Using a formal vocabulary that is equally organic, gestural and graphic, I produce work that straddles the boundary between abstraction and representation.
The central theme in my work is personal and collective memory. My investigation into personal identity and the role of family in shaping identity includes examining family lineage: oral, written and imagined. I use specific references—family photographs and artifacts, maps, folk art, textiles, flora and landscape— to create paintings layered with marks and vivid colors. These source materials provide me with a departure point that I translate into line, pattern, form and color. For example, hand-crocheted family heirlooms inspired the circular and net patterns that I use throughout my work.
The layered marks in my work symbolize the way memories build up internally and become a part of one’s character, creating a complex system of stories and narrative. The blooming floral form is a recurring motif in my work; it is a form that allows me to investigate progression, growth and the passing of time.
For me, painting is an active process of thinking, feeling and discovery. I spend some days mostly looking, and consider it an equally important aspect of my practice. I work on several paintings at once, using a palette with a broad spectrum, allowing the momentum of color and mark making in one painting to feed the next.
Lily Martine Baxter grew up in Northern California. Influenced by creative parents, she has been making art her entire life. She studied a broad range of mediums including textiles, leather work, painting, printmaking, and drawing. Lily has also worked in photography and ceramic sculpture while attending the California State Summer School for the Arts program. Lily earned a BFA in Textile Design at the Rhode Island School of Design where in she was awarded a design contract for a Designtex-RISD collaboration. During and after college she apprenticed with a custom cowboy boot maker. Learning the intricacies of this skilled trade has taught her patience in her own practice. She is very interested in personal identity and the role of family in shaping us. Her Father was born with the Jewish surname Blumenkranz. As socialists and educators in Los Angeles during the McCarthy era of the 1950’s Her family changed their name to Brent. They picked “Brent” out of the phone book with a simple democratic vote around the dinner table. This story began an investigation on the paths that her family took and how they affect her own. She now lives and works in San Francisco where she is currently painting.