'Conrad Bakker: Relax and Take Your Fucking Time'

Delightfully deceptive versions of common objects carved from wood and painted

Arts Review

'Conrad Bakker: Relax and Take Your Fucking Time'

Lora Reynolds Gallery, 360 Nueces #50, 215-4965

www.lorareynolds.com

Through Nov. 6

Heed the name of this show while you're in the gallery and checking out the creations of Conrad Bakker. Don't just breeze through on the way to your next latte or a meet-up with that hottie from OkCupid. Walk slowly, breathe evenly, look closely. Relax, yes, and take your fucking time.

That's what the artist did, after all. More so than in installations that might seem, on the surface, very like this one; more so than in similar arrangements of common objects out of context and juxtaposed for a conceptual effect that may or may not be, depending on the choices made, successful.

This stuff of Bakker's, it's pretty cool on the surface, especially in such a spare and elegant venue as the Lora Reynolds Gallery. Look at that: There's a big ol' trailer sign, propped up on a concrete block; a woodshop workbench with an emptied yogurt container crammed into one of its gaps; a lawnchair and a paperback, a tomato plant growing in a plastic bucket, an orange traffic cone. Okay, yeah, here's a legitimate if somewhat art-scene typical reframing of the quotidian, and ...

Oh, shit.

Every single one of these objects is carved out of wood.

Every single one of these objects – the sign, the bench, the chair, the plant, the slightly crumpled yogurt cup, all of it – is carved perfectly out of wood and painted in a way that could define, if it went slumming, the term trompe l'oeil. And now you remember: Oh, right, Conrad Bakker, this is the fellow whose last show featured those dozens of painted-and-carved wooden videotapes that you were impressed by but maybe left the exhibit thinking, "Yeah, heh, and what's he gonna do for an encore?"

Surprise, art lover. While, granted, we can only conjecture if the artist was relaxed or not while creating this gallery of simulacra, you can rest assured that he took his fucking time. And you, visiting this show, get to reap the reward.

Bonus: Propped on the walls surrounding these stealthy sculptures are tiny oil paintings of trailers – like Airstreams or other such tag-alongs – that Bakker based on images found among the treasures of the Internet. You see the small, precise beauty of these painted renderings and it makes sense that the trailer sign, the tomato plant, the yogurt cup seem so deceptively real in their greater dimensions. But, listen: Ask the gallery attendant why these paintings are priced so strangely, and you'll have a charming denouement to this display of fiction objectified.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Arts Reviews
Exhibitionism
'The 2012 Drawing Annual'
Don't let Tiny Park Gallery go without experiencing this exhibit of depth and meaning

Wayne Alan Brenner, May 18, 2012

Arts Review
'Memento Mori'
The three artists showing here exhibit so much sentience, mystery, and grace

Wayne Alan Brenner, April 13, 2012

More by Wayne Alan Brenner
Who Will Help the Hospitality Industry? And Who Else Has Closed?
Who Will Help the Hospitality Industry? And Who Else Has Closed?
Here's what's happening in the Austin culinary scene right now

Sept. 16, 2020

The U.S. Open and that Grey Goose Honey Deuce
The U.S. Open and that Grey Goose Honey Deuce
Wetting your vodka whistle when it’s forty-forty again

Sept. 11, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Conrad Bakker: Relax and Take Your Fucking Time, Lora Reynolds Gallery

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle