Alexandra Baraitser is a curator, painter and founder of the Bricklayers Brunch artists network. Born in Cape Town, South Africa, 1971, she studied painting at Chelsea College of Art in 1995 and went on to win the Abbey Scholarship in Painting at the British School at Rome in 1997. In 1998 she was shortlisted for the John Moores Painting Prize and the Natwest Art Prize and in 2019 she was selected to show at Kettle’s Yard’s ‘The Cambridge Show’.
She has been the recipient of a British Council Award, Grants for the Arts Award and an Arts Council Emergency Funding Award (COVID-19 emergency funding 2020). Baraitser’s paintings are a celebration of contemporary design and architecture and are based on images she selects from vintage magazines. Through painting she hopes to invite discussion of the relationship between ‘high art’ abstraction and iconic design. Alexandra has been represented by Hirschl Contemporary Art, Paton Gallery and Mark Jason Gallery.
What is your background?
I studied Fine Art Painting at Wimbledon College of Art receiving a First Class Honours in 1994. I then went on to do an MA in painting at Chelsea College of Art and Design (1994-5). After this I was fortunate to win The Abbey Scholarship in Painting at The British School at Rome - a year long residence in the heart of Rome with a studio and solo show.
What inspires you and what is your creative process?
My inspiration comes from photographs that I find in old design catalogues and books. I am also inspired by artists such as Edward Hopper, Alex Katz, Dexter Dalwood and Peter Doig. I start with the photograph, copying it faithfully into oils. However occasionally I will edit photos in my sketchbook, adding figures into the scene, for example.
What is your favourite subject matter and why?
Designed objects and architectural design. I have always been interested in architecture and interior design from the 1950s to the 1980s. Design plays a big part in our everyday life so it's important to me to express something about it. The beauty of the image is powerful too.
What is/are your favourite medium(s)?
Oil on canvas.
How long does it take to complete a piece, and what is the entire process?
It varies. If it is a very large painting it can take up to five months. Small works around a month. I select images that I want to work from and make sketches from these in my sketchbook and also a large drawing on paper or two. I work on the painting next.
Do you like working on different pieces at the same time?
I never work on more than one Idea at a time.
Name an artist(s) you’d like to be compared to.
Who are your biggest influences?
Alex Katz, Peter Doig and Edward Hopper.
What do you hope people feel when they view your art?
I hope they get lost entering into the scene and discover something about paint that they never knew before.
How have you stayed inspired and energised during the pandemic?
I collaborated on some projects with other artists. There was an online show and a real one in a pub - that was able to open briefly. I also posted some videos of my studio on Instagram and YouTube. For inspiration I looked at art online.
Projects & Collaborations
ON NOW UNTIL 24th SEPT: It’s My House, Home House, 20 Portman Square, London W1H 6LW
Dates to be confirmed – There will be work in a mixed exhibition in Thames Side Studios, London.
2022 – (17th and 18th September) – AMP Gallery, 1 Acorn Parade, London, SE15 2TZ, 11 – 6pm.
2021 – Oct 20th – 30th – Solo show at Willesden Gallery, the Library at Willesden Green. Opens Wednesday 20th, 6 – 9pm and show runs Mon – Fri 9 – 8pm and Sat & Sun 10 – 5pm.
2021, Sept 10 -12 & 15 -19 – The Second Floor Studios Open in London. https://www.secondfloor.co.uk/painting-open
Oct 29th to Nov 22nd 2020 – ‘Then and Now’ Exhibition. Curated by Alexandra Baraitser and Christina Niederberger at Terrace Gallery, London.
Kettle’s Yard BBC Radio Cambridgeshire interview about two paintings exhibited at Kettle’s Yard in The Cambridge Show 2019: Listen from 70mins in https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07n37lp
For images of the catalogue by Lewisham Arthouse Gallery 2018:
Click here to view
For images of the catalogue by ArthouSE1 2019:
Click here to view