Amadea Bailey is an American artist born in Germany in 1957. As a child she lived in Switzerland, Colorado, and Kenya, East Africa. Though the experience of all these places has touched her, it is Africa which has remained in her spirit and has had the most profound impact on her and on her work as an artist. The wide open spaces, the overwhelming presence of nature and the saturated light which she encountered there continue to drive and inspire her work today.
Educated at Yale University and the New York Studio School (most noted for its association with Hans Hoffman) her earliest academic exposure to fine art was grounded in analytical discipline and planar analysis, securely rooted in figurative study. Her mature work attempts, among other things, to fluidly meld the epic sense of drama and physicality instilled in her in Africa, with the precision and compositional structure of her training.
Amadea starts a painting with a strong feeling, idea, or memory and finds the direction of a piece through the act of painting. Finding her voice ultimately in the world of light, color, and texture. Amadea’s work has a distinctly landscape feel. Sometimes the paintings are directly inspired from nature, sometimes they are depictions of psychological terrain or a spiritual realm. The paintings, through abstract, often have strong associations to the places she has live and traveled. During her years in New York City, for instance (1979-1990), she did a series of paintings with references to the Brooklyn Bridge. She had a studio in Brooklyn on the seventh floor of a converted warehouse, with a magnificent view of the East River, the Manhattan Skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. She spent hours watching the light change on the river, and the red tail lights of the cars crossing the bridge. A version of this red appears in a number of paintings done at the time. In a painting entitled “Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge”, the red rust skeleton of the bridge dissecting the sky over the New York harbour was internalized and re-emerged as a rugged red cross burned into a large blue arena. In “Dawn” the bridge is softly diffused in pastel pre-dawn light.
Over the past five years (she has been in L.A. for the past 10 years) her landscapes have become increasingly punctuated by text, words, symbols, and markings that have a charged meaning and significance to her. The house, the crown, the fist, and the lotus flower have recurred in many paintings. Other images appear more infrequently. A fragment of a dream, image, or thought is recorded as in an entry in a diary. Sometimes words are legible sometimes not.
Fascinated by the sensuality of the paint, Amadea builds up the surface using a variety of techniques. Texture is an important element in each painting. She often uses thin washes of paint built up slowly over time, revealing passages from an earlier phase of the painting. This layering creates a sense of depth and a distillation of time. Fragments of previous incarnations are embedded in the final image. At other times broad, thick areas of impasto and wax create a mottled, dense surface. Sometimes pieces of fabric, cloth, or paper find their way onto the surface as collage elements.
Amadea’s work reads like poetry of the physical world, with painting acting literally and metaphorically as a bridge between mind and body, landscape and memory.
Selected Exhibitions: ::
72 Market Street, June 2000, Venice, California
Robert Berman Gallery, April-March 1999, Santa Monica, California
Avalon Gallery, January, 1989, New York
Mad River Post (Curated by Art-O-Rama), April 2000, Venice, California
Imagistic Media Studios Inc. (Curated by Art-O-Rama) March 2000, Venice, California
Armand Hammer Museum (Corporate Exhibition) Janurary 1998, Los Angeles, California
Sulvia White Gallery, July 1998, Santa Monica, California
The Art Loft Fine Arts 1997-1998, Honolulu, Hawaii
MWP Editorial (Curated by Sadler Fine Arts) Fall 1997, Los Angeles, California
Mad River Post (Curated by Sadler Fine Arts) Fall 1997, Santa Monica, California
Fresh Paint, Fall 1997, Los Angles, California
LA County Museum of Art (Sales & Rental Gallery) April, 1997, Los Angeles, California
Gallery Hawaii, September 1996-November 1997, Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
Pacific Ocean Digital, 1994-1995, Venice, California
William Turner Gallery, June 1992, Los Angeles, California
International London Fair, 1991, London
Scott Hansen Gallery, February 1991, Los Angeles, California
New York Studio School Alumni Show, May 1990, New York
Jill Vickers Gallery, January 1989, Aspen, Colorado
Gruenbaurn Gallery Group Show, June 1988, New York
Selected Awards: ::
Palenville Interarts Colony- Artist-in-Residence, July 1989, Palenville, NY