Visual Arts

Institute 193 gives Lexington artist her first hometown exhibit in 14 years

Creative director Maia Ferrari looks at one of the untitled pieces in the Beverly Baker exhibit at Institute 193 in Lexington, Ky., Thursday, June 15, 2017.
Creative director Maia Ferrari looks at one of the untitled pieces in the Beverly Baker exhibit at Institute 193 in Lexington, Ky., Thursday, June 15, 2017.

An immeasurable array of black ink strokes with hints of purple, red and green make up one of many works on paper by artist Beverly Baker. It is not always detectable in the finished product, but Baker starts every drawing with a mix of letters and numbers, and sometimes even a word.

Baker, a native of Lexington and a member of Latitude Artist Community, is being featured in a hometown exhibition for the first time since 2003, at Institute 193.

Maïa Ferrari, creative director at Institute 193, discovered Baker at an art show in Paris, France, where she is from.

“I really loved the work,” Ferrari said.

When she moved to New York, she worked in an art gallery, and her love for Baker’s drawings grew.

Her ballpoint pen drawings have captivated many artists and art lovers around the globe, but the lack of recognition and knowledge of her work in Lexington gave Ferrari motivation to create the exhibit.

“People did not know about her, which was sort of surprising to me because she is very well known internationally,” Ferrari said. “She was included in major publications, and she is in museum catalogs.”

Baylee Werline, community division director at Latitude, agreed: “It is unfortunate … losing out on talent that should be recognized.”

Ferrari also wanted to partner with Latitude, the artist community that Baker has worked in since 2001.

“We have partnered with them in the past, and they do a wonderful job working with the artists,” Ferrari said.

People did not know about her, which was sort of surprising to me because she is very well known internationally.

Maïa Ferrari, creative director at Institute 193, talking about Beverly Baker

Latitude serves all people, highlighting artists who are considered disabled.

The community has a fully stocked studio for artists, but it doesn’t have exhibition space. However, Latitude has many partnerships with art institutions in the community and even Third Street Stuff & Coffee, where there is a permanent exhibition from Latitude, and the iconic mural on the side of the building was created by Latitude artists.

Werline said she’s excited that Institute 193 is interested in displaying Baker’s work, especially because of the lack of acknowledgment for artists with disabilities. They are not as “recognized as they rightfully should be,” she said.

Institute 193 is on North Limestone, between a small parking lot and French bistro Le Deauville. It’s a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to exhibiting and publishing artists and their work from Kentucky and the Southeast.

The Baker exhibit, “Underlying Colors,” includes 10 untitled drawings from her collection.

Paul Brown, development director at Institute 193, is impressed with the local response to the exhibit.

“People really connect with the work,” he said.

Baker is mostly nonverbal, but she is very “loving” and “playful,” and her playfulness is reflected in her work, Werline said.

After the exhibit ends at Institute 193 July 1, it will travel to Brooklyn, N.Y., on July 13 to be exhibited at LAND (League Artists Natural Design) Studio & Gallery, an inclusive nonprofit program that works with artists with disabilities.

If you go

“Underlying Colors”

What: Exhibit of work by Beverly Baker of Latitude Artist Community

When: Through July 1

Gallery hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Weds.-Sat.

Where: Institute 193, 193 N. Limestone

Admission: Free

Online: Institute193.org

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