Prof. Leoni Schmidt
Beneath the Surface
Second Place – Hope & Sons Art Awards 2016
“At first glance one is struck by the simple, almost child-like motifs. Looking more closely, one realises that the motifs act as cyphers; they stand for inclusiveness: all are represented, different genders, cultures, and species. The loosely circular composition brings them all together on a tonal surface. The murky tonality suggests an underwater realm where people, fish and plants lazily intermingle.This is borne out by the title, which can have a double meaning: In our era of global warming and depletion of the seas, the work takes on an ominous aspect; it’s almost as if we are looking at something preserved in a vitrine; and this is emphasised by the way the outlines of the paper are shown rather than hidden by the frame. The artist has managed to combine child-like play with a sense of vague unease; therein lies the success of this work.”
Peters Doig Marlborough Art Awards 2015
“It’s real strength is it’s composition and it’s fat tonal colours. Characters are depicted in a counter clockwise symmetry that cleverly draws the viewers towards the dog in the centre. It tells a story about New Zealand culture which also makes you smile.”
He Won’t Bite
Major Prize – OAS Summer Exhibition 2015
“Gemma’s composition is an intriguing whole of many parts. I’m fascinated by her method of hand-painting then collaging each of her chosen elements – man, woman, dog – one piece at a time. This very intentional way of bringing her characters together suggests life and relationship as careful theatre; a matter of delicate orchestration. It’s as though her characters have arrived from different lives and places, coming together for a time in a common space.
Any one of them could get up at any moment and walk away, leaving the room and her companions behind. This work speaks to me of the mix of wildness and comfort that colours our everyday lives. Situations and people can be strange and familiar at one and the same time. Why do the three men and two women in this group portrait appear silent and uncommunicative and the five dogs have their heads thrown back as if they’re howling at the moon? Or perhaps they’re accompanying an unseen pianist in an adjoining room?”
Sophie V. Gilmour
Floating the Idea
Dunedin SITE Exhibition 2015
“Each of the works depicted eclectic menageries of native or exotic animals – in Floating the Idea, marine life including dolphins and beautifully rendered turtles – alongside children at play. The subtlety of Baldock’s work was such that, although each work was a collage, with each element painted individually and attached to a neutral toned background, the components blended seamlessly onto the surface, requiring close interaction from the viewer in order to glean how the pieces overlapped and pieced together.
Though each figure was glued to its surface, the total absence of spatial delineation allowed them to float freely, a kind of enactment of the ways thoughts float in and out. Through her choice of subject, Baldock related her process to the imaginative play of childhood where scattered objects are invested with special significance.”