For Terrain.org’s “Ruin and Renewal” issue, I’ve chosen to highlight a few directions in my work in recent years exploring new ways we experience the landscape through technology that both reveals and obscures it. Whether through the vernacular of painting or interdisciplinary forms such as sculpture, video, and installation, my work has often expressed a reverence for the landscape and a desire to understand its influence on us, as well as our influence on it. While I am no longer satisfied by looking at the landscape through the traditional lens of plein aire painting, I still strive toward the representation of an authentic experience of the world around me.
Sott Bailey’s work has for years dealt, overtly or peripherally, with his changing relationship to the landscape. He continually investigates the world around him through bodies of work that highlight political and social forces acting upon the earth, the contemporary technology that we use to understand and define it, and metaphorical connections present in the processes of painting itself. With the landscape as a central motif, he searches for visceral expressions of the challenge to remain fully human in a world simultaneously augmented and corrupted by technology.
While predominately a painter, Bailey has created work in a variety of media, including sculpture, video, installation, and digital media. Forms, imagery, styles, and technology may change, but the quality of the handmade, aesthetic object remains constant: even after utilizing the most contemporary technologies to obtain source imagery, it is the physical, human contact with the materials that keeps him grounded.
Bailey has held solo exhibitions in the U.S., Japan, Italy, Egypt, and South Africa, and his work has been critically recognized in a variety of national and international publications. He works also as a writer, curator, and educator who has written as the Seattle corresponding editor for Contemporary Magazine (London) and currently serves as the head of the Art Department at Wenatchee Valley College, in Washington. His work draws heavily on his experiences of living in Italy, Japan, and Egypt, and having traveled to more than 50 countries.