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Alien Allegations, by Nancy Baker

According to Artspace executive director Courtenay Bailey, Nancy Baker's strange new exhibition at the Raleigh gallery "challenges us to confront an inherent contradiction of human nature, our simultaneous fascination with and revulsion of the other, the alien." Art critic Luis Camnitzer agrees, saying that the Raleigh artist's work "looks like a perilous travel on the borderline of kitsch" that nonetheless seems more than "just an exploration of dubious taste." Alien Allegations incorporates video, lentricular imaging, oil paintings and ink jet prints on paper, to replicate the styles of Van Eyck, Bosch, Fouquet and others, in order to recreate historical images. ("Incognito, 2002" is pictured above.) But where these artists painted saints and patrons, Baker places alien figures. The alien is Baker's symbol of the outsider, digitally superimposed upon a foreign landscape. "I am fascinated with the way that we anthropomorphize ignorance, by finding a holding tank for fear in order to distance anxiety," Baker says. "The basis for the scapegoat is the displacement of fear onto another entity." See this fascinating show through June 29 at Artspace. Call 821-2787 for details.

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