August 30 - October 1
Yellow Dog, Oil , 40" x 30," 2022
In my native Hoopa language, kiwhliw means “he who paints.” First and foremost, I am a painter. I create complex, richly colorful compositions. I am also Native American, raised on the Hoopa Valley Reservation in Northern California.
In preparation for this show, I immersed myself in the history of early American photography. In the years following the Civil War, traveling photographers set out across the American “frontier.” Armed with bulky land cameras, tripods, and large glass photographic plates, they aimed to document the natural beauty of the west and what they saw as the “vanishing race” of Native People for whom that land had been home for centuries. The portraits taken by these “documentarians” were often staged to present the photographers’ view of “Indian-ness” and to suit the artistic or political interests of white Americans for whom the photographs were made. Rarely were the subjects’ names and tribal affiliation accurately identified.
Those photographers’ archival black and white photographs were my starting point for the portraits in this show. I have “replated” the white photographers’ images and given life to a people who have not vanished.
I’m still daydreaming after a good forty years of painting. I love the thought process of creativity. Firstly, one needs an idea, and with abstract art, the idea has an endless stream of possibilities. Secondly, if the original idea doesn’t come to fruition, the artist can paint over it and begin anew. One wonderful aspect is the artist is forced to use their imagination by entering a dream state of endless possibilities. Creativity is a rich challenge for the mind.
Many of my paintings are centered around geometric designs. It’s much like putting a puzzle together. My paintings are oil on canvas and I mostly limit my color palette to black and white.
Gallery talk September 21st at 7pm at Blackfish Gallery
Join Don Bailey for an in-gallery talk about his portraits in “America Replated” and how tradition informs contemporary Native art. Free and open to the public.
Busy, oil on Canvas, 20” x 20,” 2021
Revolving Flower with Glass Ball, brass and glass with micro-controller