Nicholas Baxter

Wildlife In the Post-Natural Age

I have two recent photographs included in a group show this month at the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center in Brooklyn, NYC, called Wildlife in the Post-Natural Age. This thoughtful and gorgeous collection of work, featuring several renowned contemporary artists (who I’m humbled to be showing alongside), was curated by my talented friend Cara DeAngelis.  If you’re in the Northeast and have any interest in wildlife, ecology, or environmentalism, this show is worth checking out.

Cara’s eloquent press release describes the concept that inspired the exhibit:

“The show focuses on work that addresses the interplay between wildlife and our domesticated selves and spaces. It probes the persistence of wildlife in American culture and individual imagination through the work of a diverse group of city-based artists. The varied works evoke a reconsideration of the term ‘wild’ in what Gary Snyder has called a Post-Natural Age, and the role that artists are playing in exploring these issues.”

The photos I submitted for the exhibition are from an ongoing series of macro studio photography I’ve been working on for approximately 2 years now. These digital images are a scientific document of the myriad lifeforms I discover or interact with in my travels and adventures on Planet Earth. This project was partly inspired by the Terry Gilliam version of 12 Monkeys, a surreal post-apocolyptic harbinger, which took hold of my teenage brain and hasn’t ever truly let go.

The photos below reveal some of the process of preparing my prints for display, followed by the original digital versions of the images featured in the show.  Stay tuned for more images from the series, which has a working title of Specimens.

At Jeff’s house proofing the images. Taking an image from digital to print for the first time is tricky–this was an all-day affair.

A print emerging from Jeff’s monster EPSON 5million (ok, thats not a real model number. But it’s huge). The reds in this image proved incredibly difficult to dial in.

Back at the studio with all my proofs. Hand-painting, signing, and numbering each one to make a little series of prints I can sell. No sense in throwing away all these proofs that were nearly indistinguishable from the final full-sized print.

Hand painting some effects on the full-sized prints that will be mounted and sent to the exhibition.

Mounted up and varnished, drying.

Detail of some of my paint/re-touching effects.

“Frailty (Grackle, Austin, Texas)”, photo/digital, 2011

“Gluttony (Engorged Wood Tick, Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, North Dakota)”, photo/digital, 2010