David Bailin

I have never thought much about memory and
personality, never considered the role memory plays in
personality and the preservation and continuity of that
personality in lived space. As an artist who is now
witnessing the shattering of my father’s personhood
through the shattering of his memory, the question is, how
to convey this devastating personal, human, experience
without relying on visual clichés.
The final image in any of my drawings is largely the result
of the pentimenti that moved the narrative along but did
not resolve it. The under-drawing is part of the overall look
and meaning of the work – it adds tonality and narrative
depth. Sometimes though, the drawing fails as the
pentimenti overpowers the final image, mirroring it like
quicksand under a surface of marks and wipeouts.
However, these failed to drawings, with their layers of
partially rendered scenes and gestures, gave me my
visual and technical cues for this work. The frustration of
trying to define what was not yet formed yet was intimated
by what went earlier, the back-and-forth process of
drawing in and erasing out, having an idea or image
revealing itself one minute only to fall back into obscurity
the next, mimics what I see happening to my father in his
heroic effort to recognize in the moment his own personal
narrative and memories.
Only ghosts are left.