Young Talent 2015: Greg Bailey

This is the first of a series of short features on the artists in the Young Talent 2015 exhibition, which opens on August 30:

Greg Bailey was born in 1986, in Trelawny, Jamaica. He obtained a BFA in Painting from the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. Bailey is currently based in Kingston, Jamaica.

Artist’s Statement

Painting is the frequency through which I communicate my reactions towards the impulse of society. I am intrigued by social-constructs and the ambiguities of the reality it imposes on the human psyche. My consciousness of context and content channels my interrogations toward the provocative nature of Jamaica’s social welfare; its legacies, its atrocities and how, interestingly, its history lingers in its present. The act of painting is the process through which I go about to create an elusive atmosphere within a two-dimensional structure—an atmosphere where sensibilities are stimulated by using elements such as colour, image, symbolism and emotion.

This is the conceptual mind-set behind this current body of work. The pieces are conversations about the phenomena of a two-sided culture that are extremely different and although they exist within the very same space, they never collide. For instance, Jamaica is rated as one of the most beautiful countries in the world while at the same time it is rated as one of the most violent. In the same breath, it is declared an independent state while at the same time it has the slowest growing economy in the Caribbean; so slow that it cannot sustain itself in many sectors even though it is among the top three Caribbean countries with the greatest concentrations of minerals that are most valuable on the international market.

These opposite extremes is what has lured me into painting beautiful renditions of not so beautiful realities. Realities of deception, the cultivation of decadence, self-hate, self-glorification as well as the lack of vision to identify with and combat the reoccurrence of past atrocities.

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