Throughout my practice I have been interested in producing work that deals with the balance between what is real and what is the copy or “fiction”. There has also been a nascent sub-theme that engages a melancholy marked by failure, chance or loss. A destabilizing tension or push-pull between poles, described by the use of ‘made’ elements versus found materials and shifting relationships between object and display sets up a questioning of how meaning is defined.
A recent body of work incorporated realistic re-creations of objects that were collective symbols of loss, such as an old tree stump carved with rants, loves and personal poetics. These sculptures existed holistically, creating a dialogue with other works that were assemblages of found objects that were more obtuse in meaning and incorporated chance. This tension pushed me towards a new body of work that involves a more abstract language whose forms have a relationship to minimalism while addressing the ready-made with the use of commercial products and advertisements.
Now that I am directly using elements of commercial culture within my work, the underlining feelings of loss transgress to include a dialogue that probes beyond personal experience and into the broader, more complex relationship that one has with a capitalist society and objects at large. In one piece a tall tiered framework becomes an elaborate device to hold a can of coca-cola. Another holds a felt blanket. This oscillation between the real and the uncanny, the staged and the incidental, and the object and the pedestal points toward a struggle to understand these interventions and to contemplate their use and value as art objects.
Ali Bailey (b. 1982, Beford, UK) recently moved from London to Chicago, IL. He received a BA in Fine Art from the University of Brighton in 2006. Bailey recently had a solo exhibition at Golden Gallery in Chicago and has an upcoming solo show at Andrew Rafacz Gallery in Chicago.
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