Bailin Studio


Drawing Conclusions

on Dreams and Disaster

April 2013

Dreams and Disaster

The Kennedy Gallery, The Arts & Science Center, Pine Bluff, AR

Norman Hall Art Gallery, Arkansas Tech University, Russellville, AR

If the last series, C, [Fly, for example] was inspired by any experience, it was the years I supported myself as a part-time, full-charge bookkeeper in New York City. I would arrive in the morning, get a cup of coffee, settle into my closet office, spread out the accounting book, and sort the receipts and bills. All day I entered numbers into the ledger, reconciled the bank statements, paid the bills, wrote out deposits for the bank, and prepared a summary of the accounts. It was the ideal job for an artist: everything was in past tense, and everything balanced to zero. And "zero" was what I brought from the day's work into my studio. That is, unless the ledger didn't balance. Then the gentle dull routine of my day turned into a snarled and agitated scuffle as I pored over the bills, receipts, and columns of numbers to find the missing pennies. That was the cubicle a mindless routine interrupted by the crisis of minutia.

The contrast between the rational geometry and clean surfaces of the cubicle and the chaos and disorder created by unaccountable happenstance is the theme I explore in these drawings. And the exploration reminded me that during the moments of dull routine I dreamt. I had in my head the next painting, a piece of theater business, fragments of images and spoken lines. That psychic debris kept me sane, and I felt I needed to examine it.

Rolvaag, in his novel Giants in the Earth, gives us the thoughts of a traumatized Beret who, surrounded by the emptiness of the Great Plains of South Dakota, wonders how anything can survive there without something to hide behind. That exposure, both physically and psychologically, makes the dream (or in this case the daydream) so powerful, disconcerting, and necessary. For me, the formless and fragmented daydreams that emerged between the debits and credits were more real, more important than the ledger worked over. And while the bookkeeping set the pace and place of my routine, those activities are now hidden to me. My dreams in the cubicle remain, timeless and placeless, exposed, and personal.

Dreams and Disaster is an extension of the C series. It is the dream of the cubicle.

For the first time in twenty years, I have gritted my teeth, taken out my decades old oil paints and pastels and created a series of drawings using color. I must admit that / am having a lot of fun with these drawings and hope you will attend my gallery talk at the opening reception on May 23 at 5 p.m.
1: Fly • 2012 • Charcoal and Coffee on Paper
2: Package • 2013 • Charcoal, Oil, Coffee on Paper
3: Stream • 2016 • Charcoal, Pastel, Oil, Coffee on Paper
April 2013 Newsletter image
Fly drawing image
Package drawing image
Stream drawing image