— Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomonology of Perception
Awareness comes through the body. To fully comprehend a piece of clay I must do more than look at it. I touch it, smell it, grind it to powder, reach my arm through it, slake it in water, desiccate it, place it in context in the environment. I engage with it viscerally to see it for what it is.
My work links action to observation and recording. I manipulate material physically to sense its properties. The sweaty labor of shaving down a piece of clay on sand paper reveals its mass and composition. The action is inseparable from the observations, and it generates artifacts of the process, patterns in the dust, which are a record. The motivation to record is not for long-term preservation, but learning through perception. Drawing heightens the senses of the artist, requiring focus on light, angles and shadows, and the position of the body in relation to the mark being made. A record always fails to capture the real thing, but the awareness required to record intensely is valuable in itself.
This heightened awareness can lead to deeper understanding of the relationships between body and environment. My work uses the movement of body to understand industrial and ecological systems personally. I take up these systems and materials and live them, comprehending gravity, water, time, charcoal and clay kinesthetically. These engagements are accessible for the viewer through drawings, images, artifacts and video: records of interaction between environment and body.
— Bailey Arend
Bailey Arend was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska where he learned to love the dramatic landscape and outdoor adventure. He competed nationally with the Whitman College nordic ski team and earned a BA in Chemistry in 2010. He was a resident artist at the Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts in Asheville, NC and a Post-Baccalaureate student in Anchorage Alaska before enrolling in Graduate School at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2014.