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Allison Baker | Tender Vignettes: A Class Narrative

Steffl Gallery | January 24–March 20

Allison Baker's collages document moments of lower-class living. In scenes of everyday life, viewers will find evidence of Baker’s upbringing: tattoos at dining room tables, dilapidated houses, and maybe a little too much beer. Baker notes that these details humanize the working class and explore the complexity of poverty. Approaching each collage with raw tenderness, she portrays living with scarcity, recognizing how poverty impacts choices, habits, and actions. Baker offers an example: “Playing the lottery is often seen as the only route to class transcendence. It signifies hope.”

Known for large-scale sculpture, Baker chose a different material for Tender Vignettes: collage. The tedious paper cutting and pasting introduces a slower pace that becomes meditative. Ultimately, layered bits of opaque paper create skewed sight lines and exaggerated angles that build imperfect perspectives.

Allison Baker holds an MFA in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design, a BFA in Sculpture, and a BA in Gender Studies from Indiana University. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and after clawing her way into academia, Baker now holds the position of Associate Professor of Sculpture at the Herron School of Art + Design. In this role, she passionately aspires to empower her students, guiding them to craft not only compelling artwork, but also the lives they envision for themselves.

Image Credit: Allison Baker, "Slow Roll," Coloraid paper and oil pastels on coldpress, 2023, 18"x24"

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