Maarten Baas celebrates childish pleasures in first solo LA exhibition

‘Play Time’, at Carpenters Workshop Gallery until 26 May 2023, unites Baas’ work from across his collections

Hand drawing clock hands, in orange and purple frames, Maarten Baas Play Time exhibition
Maarten Baas’ ‘Children’s Clocks’ show the time thanks to 720 children’s drawings of time across 720 minutes
(Image credit: Carpenters Workshop Gallery)

Child’s play is considered through an artist’s lens by Maarten Baas, who has opened his first solo exhibition on America’s West Coast. Taking place at Carpenters Workshop Gallery on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles (until 26 May 2023), ‘Play Time’ unites works from across Baas’ collections.

Maarten Baas’ Play Time: celebrating the joy of childhood

childlike cabinet and light from Maarten Baas Play Time exhibition

‘Close Parity Cabinet with Light’

(Image credit: Carpenters Workshop Gallery)

The joy of childhood is considered in work from the collections ‘Real Time’, ‘Clay’ and ‘Close Parity’, with items interpreted as if through the eyes of a child, roughly sketched lines and offbeat shapes nodding to Baas’ signature playfulness. 

His style, encompassing a bright rainbow of colours and offbeat geometrical outlines, is here expressed in a series of works that question the dual human desires to grow older and remain innocent.

Clocks with figure of person inside, from Maarten Baas Play Time exhibition

‘Real Time XL The Artist’

(Image credit: Carpenters Workshop Gallery)

Functionality is imbued with innocence, taking shape in quotidian items such as a grandfather clock created from chaotically placed planks of wood, as if from a child’s den. 

Clocks continue to fascinate the designer in ‘720 Minutes Clocks’, a project Baas worked on with 720 children, each of whom created a drawing to show the time across 720 minutes, or 12 hours. Limited-edition pieces by Baas house these drawings to mark the time minute by minute, the aesthetic regressing to a state of childlike design. In ‘The Artist’, meanwhile, Baas is once again an adult, creating his art in a parody of control.

Haphazard grandfather clock from Maarten Baas Play Time exhibition

‘Grandfather Clock The Son’

(Image credit: Carpenters Workshop Gallery)

Elsewhere, Baas experiments with bronze, casting vast cabinets in pieces from the ‘Close Parity’ collection. Cutting surrealist silhouettes, the works appear to be almost toppling over in their top-heavy proportions, making a cartoonish play on a child’s perception.  

'Play Time' is on view until 26 May 2023 

Carpenters Workshop Gallery
7070 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood,
CA 90038

top-heavy asymmetric cabinet from Maarten Baas Play Time exhibition

‘Close Parity Asymmetric Cabinet’

(Image credit: Carpenters Workshop Gallery)

Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.