Interview with Agnieszka Perche, Gallery Mananger at Darren Baker Gallery, London

Darren Baker Gallery opened summer 2014 and works to promote both established and emerging artists. Named after the artist in residence, the gallery aims to break down the barriers between artist and audience. Baker has spent the last two decades perfecting a hyperrealist technique. Gallery manager, Agnieszka Perche, speaks to Aesthetica about her appreciation of Baker’s work and the company’s upcoming exhibition programme.

A: Darren Baker Gallery opened in London in 2014, what makes your gallery unique?
The Darren Baker Gallery is unique due to our strong collaborative spirit. We work with organisations and other galleries, both from the UK and around the globe, in order to bring fresh talent to London’s contemporary art scene. We do not want the gallery to act as a blank white space. We work hard to create a warm, lively atmosphere and welcome everyone in with our frequent talks and events. We want to make the art and the artist as accessible and approachable as possible, helping our visitors understand and forge connections with the work we display.

A: Can you tell me a bit about the upcoming shows planned for 2015?
We have an extremely busy year planned with two shows in March. The first is an exhibition of contemporary Ukrainian art and the second, Réminiscences, is a group show of French figurative painters in association with Galerie Guido Romero Pierini and Association Rémanence from Paris. Later in the year, we continue in our exciting collaboration with Isis Phoenix Arts, presenting solo exhibitions of rising stars Tarik Berber in May, Shaun Stamp in July and Julian Tschollar in October. We are also thrilled to announce that in November we will be displaying the work of one of the biggest names in British photography, John Swannell, whose work has previously been shown at the V&A, the National Portrait Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

A: The gallery is named after resident artist, Darren Baker, can you explain a little about his practice and the ideas behind his oeuvre?
Darren Baker is a hyperrealist artist who produces incredibly detailed works comparable to photographs. Each piece takes several hundred hours to complete. Darren’s style is that of a very modern Old Master, born out of his own obsession with detail and inspired by the methods of both Vermeer and Ansel Adams. Darren’s work draws on the contrasts and continuities between the human and mechanical lens, using his extraordinary draftsmanship to create images of unparalleled intricacy and intensity. Darren’s oeuvre spans a remarkable range of subjects from equine pieces to cityscapes, however he has most recently attracted attention due a number of prestigious portrait commissions, including HM Queen Elizabeth II, Pope John Paul II and the Countess of Wessex. Darren Baker will return to the gallery with new exhibitions in April and in September.

A: You aim to break down the barriers between artist and collector, how do you aim to do this?
AP: The ethos behind the Darren Baker Gallery is to create a comfortable, welcoming creative space for artists and collectors alike, in which individuals can come together and connect. Rather than acting as the middleman, we focus on building strong relationships with and between our artists, buyers and associates, fostering an atmosphere of teamwork and communication. The artists can come to the gallery to produce their pieces, or else can come to meet other artists and interested parties to discuss their ideas and work. We encourage this through events such as Q&As and plan to take this even further in the future through offering visits to artists’ studios and workshops in the gallery.

A: You work with both established and emerging artists, what attracts you to an individual’s work?
AP: We showcase a broad spectrum of artistic practices from both national and international artists. We do not look for any particular style or movement but focus on finding artists with work that reflects their personality and triggers an emotional response. We enjoy works that have a story to tell, displayed through the artists’ individual style and technique, as well as their subject matter. An example of this is Tarik Berber, the star of our May exhibition, who uses techniques from renaissance Fresco painting to portray contemporary urban subjects to great effect.

Réminiscences runs until 5 April, Darren Baker Gallery , 81 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 4PP.

1. Image courtesy of the gallery and Darren Baker.