Line (1968) is part of a series of important photographic works done for lightbox, anticipating and perhaps influencing the work of Jeff Wall a decade later. Baxter’s first lightbox dates from 1965, and the series reached its apogee in the 1968 group of which the present work is a particularly notable example. Composed of Kodachrome colour transparencies set in a box and lit from behind, these pieces possess a hugely seductive aura that is almost cinematic in its clarity and presence. The clean lines and fiery palette of Line make it a singularly effective work that remains as fresh and uncompromising as the day on which it was executed. Baxter& executed this work under the aegis of N.E. Thing Co. (NETCO), an “ideas factory” for the making of art that he co-founded in 1967 with his (then) partner Ingrid Baxter.
The Vancouver photo-conceptualist movement, which gained traction in the late 1970s, had an aesthetic similar to that of the pioneering work of Iain Baxter&. N.E. Thing Co. opened the first laboratory in Vancouver for Cibachrome, at the time a new process for printing onto plastic directly from slide film. The process was later employed by Jeff Wall, as well as by other artists who went on to execute large-scale landscape-based images. Line is a work that is at once poetic, prophetic, and profound.