Melanie Baker’s drawings explore concepts of power and masculinity in the arenas of politics, history and finance. The artist’s portraits of people in powerful positions feature details that implicate how their policies impact the planet. Baker’s work deftly combines a virtuous handling of charcoal and graphite with classic academic techniques drawn from a deep knowledge of art history—creating compositions that serve as compelling observations of an empire in decline.
Melanie Baker, born in 1955, received a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and an MFA from Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York.
Baker's work has been exhibited at: the Brooklyn Museum in New York (2004); the Jersey City Museum in New Jersey (2006); NYU's Gallatin Galleries in New York City (2009, 2011, 2012); Ramapo College in Mahwah, New Jersey (2018), Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire (2019); Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut (2005); and Lehman College in New York City (2019).
Baker received a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in 2020 and in 2003, as well as the New York Foundation for the Arts Prize in 2003.
Baker has participated in numerous residencies, including: the Art Omi International Artists' Colony in Ghent, New York (2020); Sacatar Foundation in Bahia, Brazil (2003); Tyrone Guthrie Center in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland (2005); Valparaiso in Mojacar, Spain (2008); and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Workspace program in New York City (2004).
Baker’s studio is located in Brooklyn, New York.