John William Bailly
In this focus installation, John William Bailly’s latest body of work, Flower Wars, continues his exploration of humankind’s relationship towards societal identities forged by their respective environments. 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.
Throughout the series of studies, the roots of a universal human nature are illustrated by a variety of romantic and violent compositions that confront the paradigm of identity and place with each figurative and cartographic rendering. Separately, a series of meticulously executed charcoal maps provide renditions of the spaces that have repeatedly inspired Bailly through this explorative work. Lastly, Persephone de Miami, where the Queen of the Underworld- goddess of vegetation, fertility, and Spring- falls into the realm of the past. Her territory is the Cutler Fossil Site, a recessed encapsulation of the deep millenniums of Miami’s history. The grand composition is entwined in a mangrove forest, the native barricades of Miami, and superimposed by stacked skulls from the Capuchin Crypt in Rome.
Sofia Guerra, Associate at LnS Gallery