Alicia Bailey - Lovely and Amazing
Alicia Bailey Lovely and Amazing June 21 - July 27, 2013
23 Sandy Gallery is pleased to present the work of Alicia Bailey, a mixed-media artist living and working in Aurora, Colorado. In her studio, Bailey acts as record keeper for moments both ordinary and obscure, utilizing a broad range of material and method to create works that incorporate object, image and text. Her work has been featured in dozens of solo and group exhibits throughout the world and is held in numerous public, private and special collections.
Lovely and Amazing, begun in 2006, is a tribute to Bailey's great-aunt, Ruth Wheeler: a beloved biology teacher, naturalist, youth advocate, and feminist who lived and worked in north Denver for 70 years. Ruth found the natural world a place of endless delight. She left behind a collection of biological specimens, notes, and photographs, which Bailey has incorporated into a series of three-dimensional collages, boxes, and book works. On display at 23 Sandy will be a selection of book works from this ongoing series.
An important figure in Bailey's childhood, Ruth was educated, reverent, passionate, and endlessly curious. Visits to Ruth's house often included adventures with her collection of creatures, such as walking the ferret around the block on a leash, trying to coax the giant snapping turtles to do more than lie around in the big wash tub in the back yard, or agitating the miniature alligators that lived in the basement utility sink. Bailey notes that her favorite visits were those which included feeding the snakes from the stock of white mice that Ruth raised for that purpose. She also fondly recalls the kinkajou that lived in the basement. He had a peculiar odor, but Bailey nonetheless loved creeping down to the basement at night to watch his nocturnal pacing, his protruding eyes luminous in the dark. Not pets, these birds, mammals, and reptiles were collected, cared for, and eventually preserved.
Born in 1899, Ruth lived, lucid, independent, and strong, well into her 99th year. During her final decade, Bailey spent afternoons recording Ruth as she told and re-told tales of her life. Concerned about what would happen to her collections, Ruth started gifting Bailey with a variety of biological specimens: insect specimens, snake skins in old jelly jars, stuffed birds on sticks, owl pellets, taxidermied small rodents, fossils, and preserved plants. Ruth told Bailey many wonderful stories about her creatures; she recounted the ornithologist who taught her a down and dirty method of preserving birds and other small animals and about the day she was called home from school when one of her king bull snakes escaped its cage and was coiled in the bathtub as Bailey's great-grandmother tried to retrieve it with a spatula.
Later, when readying Ruth's house for sale, Bailey retrieved and stored many of the letters, photographs, and family heirlooms that Ruth, along with other family members, had left behind. Seven years passed before Bailey began incorporating these objects into her own studio work. She relishes the days she has spent in the studio working on this project, thinking of Ruth with a smile.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Alicia Bailey is a mixed-media artist living and working in Aurora, Colorado. In her studio she acts as record keeper for moments both ordinary and obscure, utilizing a broad range of material and method to create works that incorporate object, image and text. Her work has been featured in dozens of solo and group exhibits throughout the world and is held in numerous public, private and special collections. Alicia has worked as on independent curator, juror, workshop instructor, creative consultant, mentor and visiting artist throughout the United States for the past 30 years. She is currently owner/director of Abecedarian Gallery, a gallery with an ongoing focus on book arts, works on paper, assemblage and collage in Denver, Colorado. Since 1998 she has served on the executive committee of the Guild of Book Workers and was regional events coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Chapter for three years.