I am interested in the mechanics of the image. I want to know what something will look like as a photograph. What form does a code or symbol take? How does an encounter appear to us?
- Stuart Bailes
Stuart Bailes' evocative compositions are the documentation of the artist's exploration of human sensory experience, and our interactions with the physical and metaphysical world. His work is as much an interrogation of the limitations of our capacity for visual analysis as it is an investigation of the reductive process of representing reality through the medium of photography. In Bailes' own words: "My work is about decision making; it's about deciding to understand or not to understand."
Bailes' work is executed primarily in the realm of photography, consisting of an ontology of compositionally abstract yet materially realist images. A master of lighting, installation and printing, Bailes works with analogue equipment, employing black and white images to simplify the field of representation.
The aesthetic space in which Bailes' dramatic imagery resides is one in which time and conventional space are suspended, and the notions of medium, scale, dimension and substance are rendered ambiguous. With a visual clarity and geometry akin to the Suprematists' paintings, Bailes deploys a profound understanding of compositional form, abstract signifiers and the strengths and limitations of the camera to manipulate the viewer's perceptions of the material content of his images.
Stuart Bailes completed an MA in Photography at the Royal College of Art in 2010, and has exhibited work in the UK, USA, France, Germany, Italy and Holland. Recent solo shows include The Informants, Margini Arte-Contemporanea, Massa and The Flagship and the Decisive, 401 Contemporary, Berlin. His work has been exhibited at the Newport Museum, Griffin Photography Museum, Boston and the Photographer's Gallery, London. He has been the recipient of multiple awards including the Flash Forward 2009 award from the Magenta Foundation, and he was recently nominated for the Paul Huff Award in association with Foam Museum, Amsterdam.
Stuart Bailes: True Lies essay