I am a Norwich-based artist and writer. Since 2008 I have been Emeritus Professor of Art History at the University of Central Lancashire, and from 2019 to 2022 I have also held the post of Professor of Research for Art and Media at the University of Derby. I am an artist-member of OUTPOST, the Norwich 20 Group and the national Land2 research network, and an associate of the Melbourne-based AEGIS research network for arts and ecology.
My practice is largely photographic, and I work with the materials in my local environment. Much of my work addresses the distinctive character of the woodlands, wetlands and wildlife of rural Norfolk. My interest is in spaces shaped and shared by human and nonhuman animals, but where neither is necessarily visible. The aim of the work is to give contemporary form to the experience of moving through these environments. Here, the material texture of place is what counts, marking out a kind of haptic space that is confined, pressing and immediate. Ron Broglio has aptly described this kind of embodied engagement with landscape as the ‘disjoined conjunction of stumbling and seeing’.
I generally work in thematic series, and the six images here include two from my 2021 series Wall, tw0 from the wide-format landscape series Like Columns of Tiny Ants, and one each from two series made in Portugal: Fish Market, Lagos, and Storks and Cities (the latter an ongoing collaboration with Catherine Clover).
Since 2010 my work has been exhibited in the UK, USA, Australia and Europe, and has featured in major animal-themed museum shows in Poland and Germany. My solo exhibition Fieldwork (curated by Maria Lux) was held at the University of Sheffield in 2019, and in 2020 I co-curated (with Pr0f. Ang Bartram) the exhibition ANTONYM: Life With and Without Animals at Artcore Gallery in Derby: https://www.antonym.artcoregallery.org.uk/
My academic writings over the past twenty-five years have contributed to the development of the field of animal studies in the arts, humanities and social sciences. My books include Picturing the Beast, The Postmodern Animal, and most recently Artist|Animal. Selected writings have been translated into seven languages, and my work is included in Berg’s The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings, and in the Routledge Handbook of Human-Animal Studies.
Recent conference contributions include a keynote (‘The necessary gaze’) for the conference The Animal Gaze Constructed at London Met in March 2020, and the international online conference Life With and Without Animals, which Ang Bartram and I co-organized for the University of Derby in November 2020. Land2 member Rebecca Thomas and I are currently planning a one-day Land2 event at the University of East Anglia in 2022.
1988 – PhD, History and Theory of Art, University of Kent at Canterbury
1977 – BA Hons, History of Art and Architecture, University of East Anglia
Professor of Research for Art and Media, University of Derby
Emeritus Professor of Art History, University of Central Lancashire
Solo and two-person exhibitions
2019 – Steve Baker: Fieldwork, curated by Maria Lux, solo exhibition as Artist in Residence at Animal Remains: Biennial Conference of the Sheffield Animal Studies Research Centre, University of Sheffield, April. Catalogue: ISBN 978-1-5272-4037-7
2017 – Trees and Other Objects, two-person exhibition with Mike Dodd, Fairhurst Gallery, Norwich, 16 June – 5 August. Book: ISBN 978-0-9935572-2-4
Selected Group Exhibitions
2020 ANTONYM: Life With and Without Animals, international online exhibition co-curated with Ang Bartram, Artcore Gallery, Derby, 5 – 21 November. Web design: HemalTalati. https://antonym.artcoregallery.org.uk
2020 The Animal Gaze Constructed, The Atrium, The Cass, London Metropolitan University, London, 22 February – 23 March, curated by Rosemarie McGoldrick.
2019 Radical Landscapes: Innovation in Landscape and Language Art, Plough Gallery, Great Torrington, Devon, 22 March – 20 April, curated by Camilla Nelson.
2018 Inheritance, Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, 3 March – 23 May.
2018 Remembering Animals: Rituals, Artifacts and Narratives in Contemporary Art, Main Art Gallery, CSUN, Los Niorthridge, CA, 10 February – 17 March, curated by Julia Schlosser. Catalogue: ISBN 978-0-692-06481-8.
2017 Members’ Show 2017, OUTPOST Gallery, Norwich, 9 November – 17 December, curated by Andy Holden.
2017 Collaborative project with Amy Cutler for In the Open, SIA Gallery, Sheffield, 6-29 September, curated by Judith Tucker.
2017 Touching on Science, three-person exhibition curated by Heleno Golanó, at the 2017 international symposium of the Centre of Excellence for Plant and Microbial Science (CEPAMS), Dunston Hall, Norfolk, UK, 26-29 March.
2017 Co-Existence, curated by Julia Schlosser and Alexandra Murphy, at the Seeing with Animals conference, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY, 22-25 March. Catalogue: ISBN 978-0-9987688-0-9.
2015 What Does Art Add?: Figuring the More-than-Human World, City Without Walls (cWOW), Newark, New Jersey ,10 April – 29 May, curated by Janell O’Rourke and Kathryn Eddy.
2014-15 Arche Noah: Über Tier und Mensch in der Kunst, Museum Ostwall im Dortmunder U, Dortmund, Germany, 14 November 2014 – 12 April 2015, curated by Katja Knicker and Kurt Wettengl. Catalogue: ISBN 978-3-925998-56-0.
2014 Orońsko, Poland: Ecce Animalia, Museum of Contemporary Sculpture, Orońsko, Poland, 8 March – 15 June, curated by Dorota Łagodzka and Leszek Golec. Catalogue: ISBN 978-83-85901-99-0.
2013 The Animal Gaze Returned, Sheffield Institute of the Arts Gallery, Sheffield, 2 August – 2 September, curated by Chloe Brown, Robert McKay and Rosemarie McGoldrick.
2013 Forever and Ever (four-person show with Kenny Hunter, Robin Arseneault and Andrea Roe), Town House Museum and Gallery, Dunbar, East Lothian, 18 May – 20 June, curated by Andrea Roe.
2012 Us and Them: Umwelten, Project Space, RMIT, Melbourne, 11 May – 7 June, curated by Catherine Clover and Jen Rae.
2011 The Animal Gaze Returned: Contemporary Art and Animal/Human Studies, Cass Gallery, London Metropolitan University, 24 October – 11 November, curated by Rosemarie McGoldrick.
2010 New Standing Heat, The Front, New Orleans, 13 November – 5 December, curated by Lee Deigaard and Holly Hughes.
2005 Collaborative project with Edwina Ashton for Animal Nature, Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, 25 August – 2 October, curated by Lane Hall, Lisa Moline and Jenny Strayer. Catalogue: ISBN 0-9972053-0-4
2017 Steve Baker & Mike Dodd: Trees and Other Objects, artists’ book (Norwich: Singular Publishing). ISBN 978-0-9935572-2-4. Edition of 200 copies.
2013 Artist|Animal (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press), in the “Posthumanities” series. ISBN 978-0-8166-8067-2.
2006 Killing Animals, co-authored collection by The Animal Studies Group (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press). ISBN 978-0-252-03050-5.
2001 Picturing the Beast: Animals, Identity, and Representation, second edition (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press). ISBN 0-252-07030-5.
2000 The Postmodern Animal (London: Reaktion Books), in the “Essays in Art and Culture” series. ISBN 1-86189-060-5.
1993 Picturing the Beast: Animals, Identity and Representation (Manchester: Manchester University Press). ISBN 0-7190-3378-0.
For details of shorter publications, public lectures, conference papers etc., see full CV at: http://steve-baker.com/steve-baker-cv-2019.pdf