Scott Bailey’s “Manifest Destiny” Exhibition at Robert Graves Gallery Sept. 20-Oct. 21
In his first solo show in the Wenatchee Valley, Scott Bailey, director of Wenatchee Valley College’s Art Program, opens the season at Robert Graves Gallery with an exhibition of paintings, sculpture, digital prints and an interactive video installation. Manifest Destiny runs from Sept. 20 to Oct. 21, with an opening reception from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 23.
Over the two decades he has been painting, Bailey’s continued desire to represent the landscape has taken him from traditional plein aire painting in the field to an interest in using cutting edge technology to reveal new information and new frames of reference. Geographic information system (GIS) technology and digital landscape generating software have inspired a range of responses to the landscape. Much as Cezanne was obsessed with the regal Mt. Sainte-Victoire in France, Bailey finds inspiration for a variety of new works in the iconic form of Mt. Rainier.
In addition to filling Robert Graves Gallery, Manifest Destiny spills over into the Music and Art Center (MAC) gallery, across the street at 1510 Ninth Street.
Bailey is an accomplished artist whose work is both aesthetically and conceptually arresting. He has held more than a dozen solo exhibitions in galleries and museums in Japan, Egypt, Italy, and the U.S. In recent years, he has had solo shows at Eastern Washington University, Central Washington University and Lawrimore Project Gallery in Seattle.
Robert Graves Gallery is located on Ninth Street in Sexton Hall on the campus of WVC. Gallery hours are Mondays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For hours by appointment on Fridays and Saturdays, call 665-5977.
Manifest Destiny and the Digital Frontier Scott Bailey, 2010 Artist Statement
Whether through the vernacular of painting or interdisciplinary forms such as sculpture, video and installation, my work has often expressed a reverence for the landscape and a desire to understand its influence on us, as well as our influence on it. Recently, I have been specifically focused on exploring the ways that technology can both reveal and obscure the world. Satellite surveillance technology, for example, has made the landscape evermore accessible, evermore detached from direct experience, and evermore loaded with political and existential baggage. Increasingly, I find myself working in the interstices between computer and human capabilities.
My search for unspoiled elements of the sublime has taken me continually further afield. In current projects, I use GIS technology, precise US Geological Survey (USGS) Digital Elevation Models (DEM), and terrain generating software to create comprehensive, stunningly photo-realistic, virtual worlds. With the use of the elevation data and the proper detailing, they have all of the geological features and can become virtually indistinguishable from the real place. The technology gives me complete control over these digital landscapes, including the ability to digitally add snow, objects (plants), colors, textures, lighting and atmospheric conditions in a creative process akin to applying paint to canvas.
Playing creator, explorer and documenter of these terrains, I have used them to suggest new responses to the landscape with forms ranging from trompe l’oeil realistic photos to painted Romantic landscapes and geometric abstractions. The terrains I am creating and exploring on my computer are often from politically or culturally relevant locations, but ones for which direct experience is logistically impossible.
In an installation at the Robert Graves Gallery I use a large monochrome painting as a backdrop for chroma-key (“green screen”) technology, coupled with a video camera, and a live projected video. Upon moving toward a hole in the center of the painting, the viewer has an out-of-body experience, seeing a large, projected, real-time video of him or herself from behind, peering into a vast, digitally created landscape. The projected landscape is based on a model of the Waziristan region of Pakistan, home to Al Qaeda, if not Osama Bin Laden himself. It references traditional, sublime Romantic landscape painting and nature photography, while insidiously questioning the nature of our relationship to the location and the efficacy of any vicarious experience of it.
With technology like this, who needs nature?
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