Georgette Baker is a full-time studio artist living in Atlanta, GA. She has a background in studio art and graphic design, and graduated from Marygrove College of Detroit (1986) with a B.A in Art. Georgette was introduced to the collage medium in 1981 while a student at University of Detroit-Mercy. She was working on a degree in Dietetics and out of curiosity, took an art class as an elective. Soon after completing her A.S. in Science she changed her focus — and major to art.
For the last fifteen years, Georgette has operated an independent studio in Atlanta, where she works in mixed-media collage. The term collage derives from the French “colle” meaning “glue”. This term was coined by both Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in the early 20th century when collage became a distinctive part of modern art. Modern art can be cold and impersonal, but African-American artist Romare Bearden breathed life into the medium as he used collage as a voice for his music and to tell stories from an African-American perspective. Thus, Romare Bearden elevated the collage medium to new heights. Bearden laid a foundation for storytelling through use of collage.
Collage is a perfect medium for Georgette because it uses layers, color and texture to evoke emotions, feeling and warmth. Georgette collects early 20th century photographs, primarily of African-Americans, and incorporates them into her work as a way to tell the story from a woman’s perspective. She is developing a visual narrative to give a voice to the silent faces in the photographs. The photographs which are often fragile and delicate, beckon a story of voices silenced by time and circumstances.
The fact that the photographs survived to this point beg that a story should be told. Such questions are raised as, who were these people? What kind of lives did they lead? What were their communities like, and what roles, if any, did they play in their community? What is the secret to expressing such dignity under less than dignified circumstances? How would their lives be different in another time? What were their true passions and feelings? All of these questions beg for answers. The answers can be found in the narratives of the paintings as Georgette Baker finds the answers and articulates them into the collages.