- 1936 -
Iain Baxter, Canadian conceptual artist, was born in 1936 in Middlesbrough, England, and moved to Calgary, Alberta with his family one year later. While studying biology at the University of Idaho, Baxter met Elaine Hieber, whom he married in 1959. Following studies in the U.S. and Japan, the Baxters moved to Vancouver in 1964, when Iain accepted a teaching position at the University of British Columbia. In subsequent years, he also taught at Simon Fraser University and the Emily Carr College of Art. Early collaborative art ventures culminated in the development of the N.E. Thing Company in 1967. The company functioned as an “aesthetic umbrella,” allowing Iain and his wife to work collaboratively and anonymously to produce a wide range of art forms and projects. The N.E. Thing Co. was formally incorporated in 1969, with Iain Baxter as President and Elaine as Vice President; the two later became co-presidents. Elaine Baxter adopted Ingrid as her preferred name in 1971. Among the company’s projects was the Eye Scream Restaurant, in operation from 1977 to 1978. Following the Baxters’ divorce, the company dissolved in 1978. Iain Baxter returned to Calgary in 1981, where he taught at the Alberta College of Art. For a brief period (1983-84), he was employed as Creative Consultant to the Labatt Brewing Company. Since 1988, Baxter has lived in Windsor, Ontario, where he teaches at the University of Windsor. He married Louise Martin in 1984. Baxter’s work is particularly informed by the ideas of Marshall McLuhan and communications theory. He also cites the art of Giorgio Morandi, Zen Buddhism, and his early studies in biology and ecology as conceptual influences. Baxter has explored a broad range of media and genres, including vacuum-formed plastic, inflated vinyl, telex, polaroid prints, environmental art and multimedia installation. His work is included in the collections of numerous major Canadian and international galleries.