Los Angeles

Max Bailey

Pasadena Art Museum

Simplified forms evocative of the sea and shore are the ingredients of the recent paintings of this artist who was born in Alaska and reared in Nova Sco­tia. Bailey’s style uses much of the neu­tral shape and surface of the hard-edge painters but at times the restraint will loosen certain areas to gain an infer­ence of nature or will depart from the plane to hint of volume as a dramatic note in the inherent flatness of the pic­ture. Fundy Rock III presents an im­mutable central form, a hard, flatly-painted black shape, and the softened forms around it convey the movements of waves. By using soft against hard, Bailey provides an elemental symbol of the processes of the tide with great economy, and by restoring the solidity of edge in the strong black horizon at the top he places a lid of eternity on the action of the sea. In one of the more complex, Black Reef, Bay of Fundy there is a use of large interlocking blacks and whites below a yellow hori­zon, all of which is given a boost in scale by a series of small browns, greys, and whites in the lower corner. Not all of the paintings are as successful, many seem awkward in shape and these re­main as merely flat patterns done in muted colors but in all of the paintings there is a sympathy for the theme and a genuine sense of bigness.

––Doug Mc­Clellan