The Lucky Ring, 2008
Donald Baechler rendered everyday objects and imagery with a childlike sincerity and studied artlessness, his stripped-down pictures resembling folk art in their simplicity. Characteristically featuring a single, centrally placed motif—his recurring subjects have included flowers, animals, humans, food, and toys, all cartoonishly drawn—these disarmingly familiar items are transformed in Baechler’s paintings, sculptures, and prints into obscure emblems, as if pictographs whose significance has long been lost. In their extreme refinement, Baechler’s representations are pushed to the brink of abstraction, their thick lines, broad fields of color, and precise compositions evidencing his strong formalist bent. Prominent in the 1980s East Village scene, Baechler belonged to a generation of artists who, after a period dominated by Minimalism and Conceptualism, reintroduced figuration into their work.