Kirsten Bailey - Artist Statement
Kirsten Bailey is a painter and ceramicist who explores her relationship with nature, humanity, and climate change through her work. She seeks to disrupt a passive view of nature and spark contemplation for the viewer by portraying the realities of human impact on nature in a non-confrontational way. Through pattern, content, and material, humanity’s passive response regarding the man-made ecological crises of today is defined. The work raises questions about a more conscientious lifestyle. Every-day imagery is a source material for the work.
The works presented in Figures of Disposability (2020) focus on objects and materials that are often overlooked or unnoticed, and consist of ceramic vessels and oil paintings on wood panels. Twenty small paintings depict moments I’ve collected and documented through photography; times when I have noticed an overlap between the human-made and natural world. The images were collected over the course of the past year, and are thus indicative of the footprint I’ve left behind in cities such as Nashville and Cincinnati. The act of painting the photographs I collected was meditative, and gives the work a temporal weight. The intimacy of the paintings is heightened by their scale and the framing of the subjects. The paintings are accompanied by eight thrown ceramic vessels. Rather than taking a substance that comes from the ground and turning it into a human-designed object, these vessels were made by using a humanmade technique, spinning clay on a wheel, and allowing the natural properties of clay and chance to determine the final shape of the work. By forming the vessels in this way, I am releasing control of the clay back to the natural and physical world. As they appear in this show, the vessels are covered in white slip mixed with coffee grounds, giving them a white speckled finish. Initially, the pieces were also going to have a water and coffee grounds stain, giving them a gold to pinkish hue, but a second firing was not possible due to the outbreak of COVID-19. By using recycled coffee grounds and recycled clay in the form of slip as the basis for coloring the clay, the work takes advantage of two different discarded materials.