PRINT January 1972

Problems of Representation

WILLIAM BAILEY’S NEW WORK is basically not different from what he showed in his last exhibition—it’s just better, and I was looking forward to discussing it. Now that the moment is at hand I see that I am not the right person for the job: there is simply too much in it that I don’t understand. I see, for example, that placement is very important in Bailey’s work. Without an extreme attentiveness to positioning, he would never be able to achieve the stasis that he gets; but I can’t make any sense out of the spatial intervals I find in his paintings, if in fact they do make sense. I don’t see how he makes his shapes, either—his is not a style of contour, but neither is it one of shading. In nonpictorial terms, the general characteristics of the work are equally hard for me to characterize: is it cerebral or emotive, rationalistic or Surreal? Maybe, at this level of generality, Bailey’s

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