John William Bailly
Venus de Miami, 2017 (10,000 Years of Miami)
Oil on canvas
72 x 86 inches / 183 x 244 centimeters
Courtesy of the Artist
Bailly made two paintings of the Cutler Fossil Site that were started in 2015 and completed in 2017. Venus de Miami is one of these two oldest known artworks to depict the Cutler Fossil Site, the oldest archeological site in Southeast Florida. Bailly first visited the Cutler Fossil Site on 07 December 2015 with Miami-Dade Archeologist Jeff Ransom.
At the site, Bailly was able to engage the human history of the land now known as Miami in a direct manner never before possible for him. He was particularly captivated by the human remains of a female at the site. Being familiar with the numerous and spectacular artworks named Venus throughout history, Bailly decided to paint a Venus de Miami. Bailly was particularly inspired by three works that he had seen in person.
Bailly began the process of incorporating the Cutler Fossil Site into his work in December 2015, through an oil sketch and three small works on paper. Bailly then transferred his drawing onto a large canvas in the Carriage House Studio at the Deering Estate.
Bailly began the studies of the Venus figure in March 2017. Other commissions and projects, however, stalled the development of the work. Bailly left to Italy in May 2017, with the work unfinished. The 2017 trip to Italy was a transformative time in Bailly’s painting.
Bailly returned to the work in August 2017, but Hurricane Irma hit Miami. While simultaneously recovering from Irma, Bailly returned to Venus de Miami, developing the figure. It is at this time that he introduced the bats surrounding Venus in a loose Fibonacci Spiral.
Venus de Miami was completed in October 2017, after a Grand Tour of Europe and Hurricane Irma. It is one of the most important works in the development of Bailly’s work, as it features the reintroduction of the figure into his paintings after several years of abstraction.
30 August 2022
COPYRIGHT © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED