David Nolan Gallery is excited to present an exhibition of new works by Dylan Bailey. On view from April 4 to May 4, this will be the artist’s first solo show with the gallery.
A significant area of Bailey’s expanding practice is his ongoing series of “number” paintings. These works (which first appeared in a solo show at the National Exemplar gallery) serve as a record of what the artist describes as “a random toss of metal and plastic numbers.” The resulting images have an otherworldly quality which, for Bailey, have the appearance of “a surreal, cosmic space in which numbers appear to float and hang.” Hovering somewhere in between the abstract and the representational, these complex networks of numbers seemingly allude to mathematical certainties within a strange and ambiguous realm. The artist develops these compositions with a sheet laid flat on the ground, applying enamel paint from a spray can over the scattered arrangement of numbers. When the physical numbers are removed, a silhouette remains as an imprint on the sheet. In this regard, the paintings recall early photographic experiments, such as Man Ray’s “rayographs”, in which objects arranged on photosensitized paper are exposed to light.
There is an intuitive nature to Bailey’s practice, wherein one idea gives way to the next. This is testified in a second series, in which colored caps (left over from his spray cans) are re-used to form the basis of a new body of work. Rising nearly seven feet tall and constructed in plywood, these “colored cap” panels occupy the main gallery of the present exhibition. These works are characterized by a playful arrangement of colored spray can caps, which the artist has inserted from behind the surface of the panels. Bailey ensures that the plywood grain runs horizontally across the panel, which has the effect of leveling the composition as in a landscape. With each work, the artist develops a new layout for the caps – some panels privilege a sparse arrangement, while others are more clustered or weighted in a certain direction. Seen as group, these Miró-like constellations achieve a sense of dynamism and movement.
Dylan Bailey was born in Londonderry, Vermont in 1985 and studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design, before settling in New York City in 2008.