In Flower Wars, Bailly examines the nature of conflict from both a social and natural perspective. The body of work is comprised of six large (86 x 118 inches / 220 x 300 centimeters) oil paintings and 40 smaller oil paintings. Every painting is accompanied by numerous works on paper that inform the larger works. A collection of the informative works on paper are from the In-Situ series and are framed.
Bailly uses the concept of Mexican Flower Wars rituals as a platform to examine social, cultural, and biological conflicts, specifically as they relate to the Transatlantic Exchange. Which cultural traditions and biological species have traveled ida y vuelta across the Atlantic and how do they manifest themselves?
“A French-American artist born in the UK, Bailly has spent his career exposing consistencies and controversies within accepted written histories to understand the larger enigma that is humanity. Flower Wars utilizes Bailly’s characteristic style to challenge any separation of ideology and culture that has pervaded as a result of a polarizing global history. Deeply inspired by mythology, geography, and the diversity found in nature itself, Bailly employs these facets, piecing together a renewed understanding of this universal experience.”
“True to his practice, Bailly’s innumerable sources of inspiration are built through the layers of oil paint, illustrating plein-air sketches, diverse, reflective color theory, and lyrical figures by which each unique composition is realized. Across Flower Wars, deities of Inca and Aztec cultures, Greco-Roman mythology, and biblical figures activate arenas that inherently challenge a traditional understanding of the conversation between the Old and New World. Driven by the narratives brought about by Bailly’s curated pantheon of fabled figures and the respective environment they entertain, the turbulence and duality of the allogamous relationship within the transatlantic dialogue is reproduced, and reimagined.”
Sofia Guerra, Associate at LnS Gallery
A selection of “Flower Wars” was exhibited in “John William Bailly – InSitu” at the Deering Estate in Miami in 2022.
14 October 2022
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