Donald Baechler has amassed a great inventory of worldly images. Recorded on slides and collected in the archives of his enormous Lower Manhattan studio, they are the sources for many of the compelling images in his paintings. The cast of characters, which also includes himself, come from every source imaginable, and are stamped, silk-screened, projected, drawn, painted, printed or collaged onto surfaces. Then the process begins: underpainting, overpainting, canceling, adding, subtracting, editing until the final work emerges.
Baechler was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1956 and came of age as a painter in the early 1980s when he began exhibiting internationally. His work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Centre George Pompidou in Paris.
Not only is Baechler one of the important painters of his generation, he is also thoughtful and articulate in regard to painting history and the contemporary art world. I enthusiastically accepted the opportunity to interview him with the hope of finding out more about his process, and the genesis of these restless images. We spoke on a warm March evening in the comfortable living area of his studio, surrounded by an extensive library of art books, and crowded with paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures by other contemporary artists.