Bailey incorporates precious metals such as gold and silver as well as copper leaf into the finished print to encapsulate some of the elements she wants to express. Its application is done by hand with all its attendant imperfections and mistakes, giving each print its own unique style. Her artistic direction leans towards the Japanese concept of Wabi-sabi, which celebrates the beauty of imperfection. It is therefore, particularly relevant that the prints from this collection are reproduced in a slightly less predictable and unblemished manner. All works are small edition, mostly printed onto museum glass in bespoke frames.
“The prevailing aesthetic today, that of theoretically-driven conceptual photography interests me far less, than creating a compelling orchestration of colour and form within the frame. My fascination with colour goes back a long way. One of my earliest creative recollections has me sitting at a table endlessly mixing paints in a valiant but ultimately futile attempt to ‘invent a new colour’. It was an imperative that kept me occupied for some time as I recall. The result was always the same – and unedifying fudge of pale peach and silver. In my defence, I was very young at the time. Scientific fundamentals had yet to impinge on my consciousness and as I could barely read, I certainly hadn’t come across Goethe’s colour theory, nor the writings of Josef Albers.” – Valda Bailey.
Impressionist photography has a long history and gold leaf has been used in the art world for centuries. In The Sun Beyond the Shadow, Bailey utilises contemporary printing techniques with ancient crafts to produce painterly dream like images.
Valda Bailey (b.1958) has been featured in national and international publications. She has exhibited widely in the UK, and in 2015 was the first woman to be invited to join six other photographers to exhibit at the biennial Masters of Vision at Southwell Minster. Her work is held in numerous private collections.