Bailin Studio

He left a paper trail...
STUDIO DATABASE
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The conformist makes a list of confessions, dates it, signs it. It doesn’t conform. Each entry is typed then struck through. […] The list concludes with barbed ambiguity, at the awkward number eleven: Escape is binding. Whose conflicted, self-effacing voice is this? David Bailin’s or the everyman he casts as the sole player in his drawn tableaux? Each, perhaps, speaks on behalf of the other, and both have something to say for the rest of us. Something about the way order masks vulnerability. Something about external controls on the chaos within.

Leah Ollman, Paper Trails Catalog essay, 2008

Early Work • 1985-1997
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Just as there is another picture underneath every picture, there is also a meaning beneath every meaning. By layering his imagery and his meanings, Bailin’s paintings are no longer “windows” to a fictional world. They are not natural and simple objects—they are events that involve the viewer in their meaning…David Bailin’s paintings are heady stuff, powerful and thought-provoking images. The sort of stuff that Memphis sees far too rarely. The sort of stuff that may even make Memphis think.

Cory Dugan, Number: Spring 1988, Vol.1, No.4

Painting and Painting on Paper • 1987 - 1994
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METEOR SHOWERS • 1994 • 72 x 72 inches • Charcoal and Oil on Paper • Private Collection • Boston, MA

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ENCLOSED FIELDS • 1993 • 24 x 42 inches • Oil on Paper with Exhibition Label

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OLD KING • 1993 • 24 x 37 inches • Oil on Paper with Exhibition Label • Private Collection, Des Moines, IA

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MOONLIT MEETING • 1993 • 24 x 24 inches • Oil on Paper with Exhibition Label

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PROMISED LAND • 1993 • 24 x 42 inches • Oil on Paper with Exhibition Label

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THE COIFFURE • 1993 • 24 x 24 inches • Oil on Paper with Exhibition Label

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THE MONUMENT • 1993 • 24 x 42 inches • Oil on Paper with Exhibition Label

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THE TEMPEST • 1993 • 24 x 42 inches • Oil on Paper with Exhibition Label

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DUTCH COURTSHIP • 1993 • 24 x 42 inches • Oil on Paper with Exhibition Label

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TWO MEN • 1992 • 72 x 72 inches • Charcoal and Oil Stick on Prepared Paper

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SHORE • 1992 • 72 x 72 inches • Charcoal and Oil on Paper • Private Collection, Little Rock, AR

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PROPHET • 1992 • 72 x 72 inches • Charcoal and Oil on Paper

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FOUNTAIN [SPANISH LADY] • 1992 • 62 x 54 inches • Oil on Paper • Private Collection, Los Angeles, CA

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BUNNY • 1992 • Oil on Paper • 24 x 42 inches

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UNTITLED [TOURISTS] • 1991 • 37 x 54 inches • Oil on Paper • Private Collection, St. Paul, MN

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WHERE LAND IS LIFE • 1988 • 37 x 42 inches • Oil on Paper

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VOICES OF THE ANCIENTS • 1987 • 37 x 42 inches • Oil on Paper

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IN THE PRESENCE OF SERIOUS THINGS • 1987 • 37 x 42 inches • Oil on Paper

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ARE THERE ANY OTHER MESSAGES WITHOUT CODES? • 1987 • 37 x 43 inches • Oil on Paper

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PLATO’S SANDBOX • 1987 • 37 x 40 inches • Oil on Paper • Private Collection, Little Rock, AR

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THE POWER TO BRING RUIN • 1987 • 37 x 40 inches • Oil on Paper

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UNDER ORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCE • 1987 • 37 x 40 inches • Oil on Paper • Private Collection, Little Rock, AR

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WHEN THE GRANDFATHERS HAUNT YOUR DREAMS • 1987 • 37 x 42 inches • Private Collection, Needham, MA

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CASTLES OF SPAIN IN THE AIR • 1987 • 37 x 40 inches • Oil on Paper • Private Collection, St. Paul, MN

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REFUGEES • 1987 • 6 x 9 inches • Oil on Paper

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FUNERAL • 1987 • 6 x 9 inches • Oil on Paper

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PROTEST • 1987 • 6 x 9 inches • Oil on Paper

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MASS GRAVE • 1987 • 6 x 9 inches • Oil on Paper

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LINE UP • 1987 • 6 x 9 inches • Oil on Paper

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ATTACK • 1987 • 6 x 9 inches • Oil on Paper

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STORMING • 1987 • 6 x 9 inches • Oil on Paper

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GASING • 1987 • 6 x 9 inches • Oil on Paper

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ARREST • 1987 • 6 x 9 inches • Oil on Paper

Drawing and Painting on Canvas • 1986 - 1993
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KADISH [For VF] • 1993 • 60 x 72 inches • Charcoal and Oil Stick on Canvas • Private Collection, Little Rock, AR

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UNTITLED [CONVERSATION] • 1992 • 46 x 72 inches • Charcoal and Oil on Canvas

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UNTITLED [NOISE] • 1991 • 46 x 72 inches • Charcoal and Oil on Canvas

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3842 MAGNOLIA • 1990 • 54 x 72 inches • Charcoal and Oil on Canvas

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1210 IRONTON RD [BARRIER] • 1990 • 52 x 72 inches • Charcoal and Oil on Canvas
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2327 RAINTREE DRIVE [EMBRACE] • 1990 • 52 x 72 inches • Charcoal and Oil on Canvas • Private Collection • North Little Rock, AR

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PALESTINE • 1989 • 70 x 69 inches • Charcoal and Oil on Canvas • Private Collection, Boston, MA

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FIRST THERE WAS THE EARTH • 1989 • 70 x 69 inches • Charcoal and Oil on Canvas • Private Collection, Boston, MA

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…SELECTS HIS LUGGAGE • 1989 • 70 x 69 inches • Charcoal and Oil on Canvas

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COUNCIL OF ELDERS • 1989 • 70 x 69 inches • Charcoal and Oil on Canvas • Private Collection, Boston, MA

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ANCIENT DREAMS • 1989 • 70 x 69 inches • Charcoal and Oil on Canvas

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ANTICIPATED EXILE • 1987 • 72 x 72 inches • Charcoal and Oil on Canvas • Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection, Little Rock, AR

ETERNAL VOW

ETERNAL VOW • 1987 • 72 x 90 inches • Charcoal and Oil on Canvas • Private Collection, Boston, MA

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CITY ON THE HILL • 1987 • 72 x 72 inches • Oil on Canvas

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THE FLOUNDER • 1986 • 60 x 108 inches • Oil on Canvas

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NORTHERN LIGHTS • 1986 • 60 x 108 inches • Oil on Canvas • Private Collection, New York City, NY

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STREET • 1986 • 60 x 108 inches • Oil on Canvas • Private Collection, New York City, NY

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EQUINOX • 1986 • 60 x 108 inches • Oil on Canvas • Private Collection, New York City, NY

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ARGOSY • 1986 • 60 x 108 inches • Oil on Canvas

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KNOSSOS • 1986 • 60 x 108 inches • Oil on Canvas

Selected early drawings and paintings that chart a development from the time I stopped working on theater and focused upon developing my skills as a painter and translating my theater ideas into two-dimensional formats.
Proleptic Productions • 1979 - 1984
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The Abreaction Theater was established in 1979 as collaboration between Geoffrey King, a composer in Boston, and me, a visual artist in NY. To produce the theater we established Proleptic Productions, a 501-3-C not-for-profit foundation. I had just finished working as a stage manager for the avant-garde playwright and director, Richard Foreman. The result of my experience with his Ontological-Hysteric Theatre was a script called Disparate Acts.

Through a mutual friend, the script ended up in the hands of Geoffrey King who proceeded to accumulate musical ideas and references as he manipulated the text through recording sessions and at his editing table. The success of Radio Sonata at its premier on May 4, 1979 at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston convinced us both to create a theater focusing upon a unique fusion of acoustic and performance environments.

By November, the Abreaction Theater presented Disparate Acts [At A Distance] in a small loft on Crosby Street in lower Manhattan. Confessions of A Conformist: The Lists followed in 1981 as the theater’s second production. The last work was entitled Beginning Terrain and was staged at Squat Theater in 1983.
DISPARATE ACTS : AT A DISTANCE
CONFESSIONS OF A CONFORMIST
Performance Art • 1977 - 1978
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I moved to New York in the summer of 1976 and I completed a number of large scale paintings dealing with memory, location and material. But I soon came to realize that narrative art in the conceptual 1970s was problematic. As a result I developed several performances that brought my painting ideas into a theatrical space and permitted me to explore in depth image and language. The following performance works were presented during that period at various locations around New York City.

David Baiin, Abreaction Theater Promotional Materials

“-.” or Kidnapping by Psychiatric Questionnaire • December 9, 1977
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KIDNAPPING BY PSYCHIATRIC QUESTIONNAIRE • ACT 1

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KIDNAPPING BY PSYCHIATRIC QUESTIONNAIRE • ACT 2

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KIDNAPPING BY PSYCHIATRIC QUESTIONNAIRE • DETAIL 1

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KIDNAPPING BY PSYCHIATRIC QUESTIONNAIRE • DETAIL 2

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KIDNAPPING BY PSYCHIATRIC QUESTIONNAIRE • DETAIL 3

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KIDNAPPING BY PSYCHIATRIC QUESTIONNAIRE • DETAIL 4

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KIDNAPPING BY PSYCHIATRIC QUESTIONNAIRE • Inspector Script Page 1

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KIDNAPPING BY PSYCHIATRIC QUESTIONNAIRE • Inspector Script Page 2

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KIDNAPPING BY PSYCHIATRIC QUESTIONNAIRE • Inspector Questions Script

Facings #3 • October 17, 1977 • December 15, 1977
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FACINGS 3 Script Cover • October 17, 1977 • December 15, 1977

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FACINGS 3 Script Page 1 • October 17, 1977 • December 15, 1977

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FACINGS 3 p1: Introduction

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FACINGS 3 p2: I did this to him, to her, between the being and the bone.

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FACINGS 3 p3: On Oct 1520 the fleet sighted a headland which they named the Cape of Eleven Thousand Virgins.

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FACINGS 3 p4: Circumstance, those certain moments, those stories and anecdotes, obscure the nature of how we come to mean.

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FACINGS 3 p5: Here is a place penetrated by a cool and analytic vision.

Facings #2 • April 14, 1977
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FACINGS 2 Script Cover • April 14, 1977

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FACINGS 2 Script Page 1 • April 14, 1977

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FACINGS 2 p1: Here in this room where she lies here and I sit here

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FACINGS 2 p2: I take it out of context

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FACINGS 2 p3: Here we lie together.

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FACINGS 2 p4: Still

Grey Facings • March 17, 1977
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GREY FACINGS Script • March 17, 1977

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GREY FACINGS p1: Here are the attributes of here

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GREY FACINGS p2: Interrogation

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GREY FACINGS p3: To move through it changes our perception

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GREY FACINGS p4: A man stands naked at a window

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GREY FACINGS p5: …draws back the curtains.

After presenting Kidnapping by Psychiatric Questionnaire, a performance involving simultaneous readings and action by 15 participants, I began writing Disparate Acts [At A Distance] and founded the Abreaction Theater with Geoffrey King.
Concerning the art archive
An artist friend of mind mentioned that as artists we really paint the same painting over and over again. Subject and Object matter may change but the Core matter does not. Patterns of work, approach, organization, deep themes appear over and over again. As much as we think we make progress, the progress is a fog of technical mastery and emotional depth. What makes us artists, what drives us to spend hours in the studio, what brings us to manic highs and depressive lows? The artist Warren Criswell calls it our addiction - the art drug. 

The art drug results in the high we get when we complete a solid piece of work. Its the low we experience after a show is hung. Its the ever increasing need for storage and money for supplies. But that’s just the psychological and physical affects of the art habit. The real frustration of art isn’t the work per se. After a while, we can forget about technical issues. We can push the material to do what we want and get what we want. The real frustration of art is the realization that all of our previous work is past and moribund and that every thing we make will come from that pile of past work. 

As artists, we change the subject matter (the story) and the object matter (the elements) but we can’t change the core matter - the indescribable and intangible chemical, electrical, biological makeup of our psyche - the conglomeration of memories and emotions that require expression.

We may never come to grasp or even understand what that core is but it remains stubbornly fixed and reenforced throughout our lives. The frustration, therefore, is how important that core is to creating our subject matter and how insignificant our subject matter is to expressing it. The art drug is the need, the compulsion, to express the core through our work so well and completely so as never to have to experience it again.