Sandra Baia is a versatile and multidisciplinary artist, her practice is a journey of exploration where she freely experiments with various techniques and expressive forms, moving from minimalism to expressionism, from abstraction to figuration, alternating scales and dimensions, either two-dimensional or three-dimensional and using a wide variety of materials. Baía’s work encapsulates, explicitly or implicitly, her vision about the complexity, the individuality, the intimacy and the fragility of the human condition, inviting the viewer to dive into oneself and reflect upon the relationship between their inner and outer world. These artistic and narrative features are intuitively and progressively reinvented or intersected in a graffiti style, as can been seen in series like “Be MySelf” (2009) or “Looking Is Not Seeing” (2012). The composition and figuration, emphatic and powerful, sometimes deformed, and the pallet of colours, aggressive and intense, convey a powerful and emotional message that the artist wants to stimulate. The compositions of acrylic paint on canvas from the series “Forms of Attention” (2013), also very intense but more contrasted, opposes the expressionist abstraction of powerful and violent brush strokes with spaces on the canvas each series of works, sometimes sharply different, but always connected through a consistent and evolutionary pattern.
Some of her works on canvas, are a mixture of Expressionism and Pop Art, in these semi-figurative compositions, Baia employs various media of oil and acrylic paint superimposed with the latent symbolism of photos, clipped text collages or words written in left emptied of compositional elements, combined with a chromatic retraction limited to black, white and grey. In canvases previous to this, 2011 was the year in which the three-dimensionality begins to be addressed, marking the start of a transition period which will lead to the current phase. Diluting the boundaries between painting and sculpture, or even deleting the painting and exploring various techniques of assemblage, the canvas is now a support element to the incorporation of the most various materials and volumetric objects. The composition becomes more minimalist and it is now the materials and elements employed as well as their volumes that play the role of codes, anchors and vehicles of exaltation of the artist’s vision and message, rather than a mere representation on a surface or in the space.
The year 2015 unambiguously marks a new period of experimental expansion in Baía’s career. The canvas is abandoned, and the three-dimensionality of sculptures and site-specific installations open a new creative channel where new materials such as stainless steel, acrylic and different alloys are introduced into the expressive vocabulary. “Imitative” (2015) and Pillow Talk (2016) are two emblematic parts produced in this phase and among which viewer can find several common traits. The large scale of the work, the conceptual minimalism and the physical and mechanical characteristics of the materials reflect a progression of layers more intricate and more significant in the form of artistic expression. Concepts such as mass, strength and the impersonality of the industrial materials appear in first viewing. However, there is also and intended and suggested environmental interaction between the work and the spectator that lead to deeper levels of the thematic characteristic of her work, opposite to those first themes. In this way, the pristine and organic volumes suggest a new reference to the spectator’s fragile and unstable balance of considering one’s inner and outer world, while the reflective property of the mirrored materials relates to the vulnerable and intimate implied in a dialogue of the viewer with oneself and their surroundings.