Rebecca Baumann: Colour, movement and time

Rebecca Baumann Mixed Feelings 2012As part of its WA Focus Series, the Art Gallery of Western Australia presents new work by talented young artist Rebecca Baumann, who has recently returned to Perth from an artistic residency in Helsinki.

While in Finland, Baumann visited Lapland to view the Northern Lights, an experience which influenced her recent work. “My journey through the arctic circle, both seeing the Northern Lights, but also experiencing the very specific light conditions which exist at that latitude, led me to think about perceptions of light and time,” said Baumman. “These experiences and ideas are reflected in the collection of works which will be exhibited together at AGWA.”

One of Perth’s most sought after exhibiting artists, who has enjoyed a swift career trajectory, Baumann has created for WA Focus, a new light installation that creates pulsating colour waves around the gallery space and a series of works on paper. Complementing these new works, is an interactive paperwork, Mixed Feelings 2012 (pictured) – on show in Perth for the first time.

While differing in medium and content, Baumann’s work is immediately recognisable for its examination of colour, light and time – how the experience of colour provokes emotions, and how formal and conceptual exploration of materials can be developed out of these shaping concepts. Baumann’s kinetic installations engage audiences through the experiential, fleeting and emotive qualities of the works, and the choreography of colour and movement.

“I’m delighted to welcome Rebecca Baumann to the State Art Gallery as the next artist in the WA Focus series,” said Stefano Carboni, AGWA Director. “Like her contemporaries, Rebecca’s work is also an exciting exploration of colour, to which she brings an immersive, participatory edge that will delight Gallery-goers.”

A subtle tension between materials, colour and their activation was apparent in Baumann’s early works that included festive devices such as bursting balloons, fan-activated coloured streamers and confetti showers. She has often used ordinary found, low-tech machines such as clocks, fans, ball throwers, and more recently computer-driven signage mechanisms, to activate the moment when the viewing experience is changed.

“Baumann’s recent works are more overtly expressions of the machinery that drives them, and therefore have a more pronounced presence in the delivery of their sensual impact,” said Jenepher Duncan, AGWA Curator of Contemporary Australian Art.

“Her installation work captures constant living movement while seeming to respond to the world of the viewer. As well, the production of colour and emotion in her kinetic sculptures becomes emblematic of the role of chance, flux and time in our lives.”

Born in Perth in 1983, Rebecca Baumann graduated from Curtin University in 2003. From her first exhibitions in Perth commencing in 2004, her career trajectory has been illustrious and includes various awards and resulting international residencies.

These include time spent in India with the Qantas Spirit of Youth Award in 2009, the Culturia Residency in Berlin during 2010, New York with a prestigious international Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) residency in 2012, and more recently in 2016 with an Australia Council Studio residency in Helsinki, Finland.

In 2015, Baumann held a solo exhibition Manoeuvres at the Fremantle Arts Centre, and a shared exhibition Colour Restraint with artist Brendan Van Hek at the Campbelltown Arts Centre. Other solo exhibitions include Auckland, 2014; Brisbane, 2012; Poznan, Poland, 2010; and Perth’s Free Range Gallery, 2009.

Her work has been included in important group exhibitions such as New Romance, MMCA, Seoul, South Korea, 2015; Here & Now 15, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, Perth, 2015; Everyday Magic, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2013; Contemporary Australia, Women, Queensland Art Gallery/GOMA, Brisbane, 2012; Primavera, Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, 2011 and NEW11, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 2011.

AGWA’s WA Focus gallery is dedicated to displaying the diverse work of Western Australian artists. The Gallery works closely with local artists and the WA arts community to present exhibitions that display the depth of the State’s creative talent through a mix of gender, discipline and experience.

Rebecca’s work in on display at the Art Gallery of Western Australia until 22 August 2016. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Rebecca Baumann, Mixed Feelings 2012. Paper, feed tray, Arduino microcontroller, drive circuits/electronics, remote control, IR receiver, dimensions variable. Technology build and design: Cake Industries. Commissioned by GoMA for Contemporary Australia: Women – photo by Chloe Callistemon