new-york

William Bailey

Robert Schoelkopf Gallery

It’s not what William Bailey paints that identifies him with an artist like Ryman, but how he thinks. The “how” is pretty much the same, so that both have this attraction to large blank spaces that should clue a viewer in as to exactly how this thinking materializes into a visual principle. Bailey paints—and has been painting for a long time—quietly subdued, somewhat stuffy, formal arrangements of pottery on a shelf, with occasional eggs. The color range strikes me as too limited and safe—as safe as all white—earth tones with a pinch of blue and yellow. Nothing upsetting here, nothing to suggest that this purely fictional calm is not infinitely preferable to the chaos of the real world. A suite of Baileys turns a normal room into a sanctuary, a pool of sanity. I have absolutely nothing against them as paintings. I find them warm and comfortable, combining the innocent essence of Matisse’s

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