An Odyssey: Brian Dailey Digital Work

December 1-January 15. 2018


Perhaps no word better characterizes Brian Dailey than polytropos, the term Homer used to describe Odysseus in the Odyssey. Translated from the Greek as well traveled and, in a more metaphorical sense, as the man of many twists and turns, polytropos suitably describes Dailey’s life journey and its many peregrinations. Indeed, intriguing travel adventures during his early art career in Los Angeles in the 1970s launched him on a path of many surprising twists and turns. His unusual experiences, which he approached with the same curiosity that has driven his art in diverse media, continue to provide a fertile source of inspiration in his unconventional creative practice. This exhibition brings together a cross-section of Dailey’s recent work in digital media encapsulating the remarkable odyssey of the artist’s life and the avenues he has explored. 

Featured in An Odyssey: Brian Dailey Digital Work are the artist’s videos ranging from the meditative to the kaleidoscopic, silent to cacophonous. Jikai (2013) is a hypnotic and metaphorical rumination on political disintegration dedicated to the Japanese filmmaker Akuri Kurosawa, which was featured in New York on multiple screens for the Times Square Art Alliance’s Midnight Moment in February 2015. Equally meditative, Quietus (2017) is an intensely moving tribute to personal loss accentuated by the haunting sounds of Tibetan singing bowls. Video productions America in Color (2014) and Bulgaria in Democracy (2015), color-coded montages assembled from the artist’s extensive travels, engage with issues of democracy, political diversity, and personal identity. Several works in the exhibition, such as the boisterous and politically prescient video Polemos (2012), will be on public display for the first time. 

Also on exhibition will be a maze of selected pieces from his illusory digital composite series, Impressions of Africa Redux (2014), a project reflecting the artist’s more fanciful side. Mounted on Plexiglass and dramatically backlit, the five-foot tall hybrid images of flora, fauna, and celestial phantasm have a surreal cinematic and three-dimensional quality. They are complemented by selections from Dailey’s digital montage series, Tableaux Vivant. These paradoxical images existing between the worlds of reality and fantasy give new currency to the historical genre of the tableau vivant (scenes from life).

The transformed subterranean space and multidisciplinary platform of Dupont Underground provide an ideal venue for featuring Dailey’s unconventional creative practice. In conjunction with this exhibition, the artist will be giving a talk with a preview of his current global video project Words, which will be premiering in its full-scale towering installation at the Katzen Arts Center in January 2018.