Words and Images by Doug Baulos
Although I work with the feelings of loss, mortality, and the power and delicate nature of memory, my work is a reflection of my attempt to live my life in fragile exultation.
The process of piecing together an image is a meditative exercise for me. I begin with fragmented images, ideas and materials, and layer seemingly dissimilar elements that trigger associations in complex combinations. Most of my recent work reflects a multitude of interests including grief and mortality, nesting and mending, meditation, medical illustration and procedures, and spirituality.
My work is composed of myriad layers of media, ideas and associations. The process of piecing together an image is a meditative exercise for me having as much to do with duration as physical texture or of following the thread of mindfulness. I merge the abstraction of narrative with the physicality of objects.
I see it as a function of time, like the idea of chanting. I want to personify intangible experiences and feelings and make them tangible for my audience. The figurative/medical nature of some of my works stresses the idea of transformation and recovery over victimization. I’m interested in forms and images that accompany the body and in the traces the body leaves: a bed, a nest, a webs, decay and shadows.
While drawing and layering found materials, seemingly dissimilar elements begin to trigger associations with other images and ideas. It’s my hope that the viewer connects these images by drawing on their own interests and associations. Retired objects and found papers are redeployed as agent of memory that can evoke and reflect on the history of private lives – worn and battered, certain found objects evoke sympathy and empathy. Like a dog without a tail we notice an object or book’s history and pluck as survivor.
This idea of fragmentation as well as things left marked or scarred is reinforced through patina of found materials, diversity of subjective textures and disjointed formal structures. The aim of my work has always been to arouse in my audience (as well as myself) an experience of empathy with my subject matter more than sympathy. I try to be very aware of how events are traced and mapped both physically and emotionally – both violent and non-violent (passive).
Recently I’m exploring the idea of simultaneously linking the application of media and surface with inner experience, seeking to create books and sculptures that present themselves as humble objects that open into vast, imaginative space for the reader. By using discarded dictionaries (nests of words) and transforming them into “book” sculptures, I hope to explode the text into an embodied visual narrative, a sculpture of our inner life.
Douglas Pierre Baulos received their MFA from the University of New Orleans and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. They regularly teach workshops and lectures on their research in book arts, drawing and visual ecology. In 2009 Baulos won the President’s Award For Excellence In Teaching at UAB.
They currently are the Assistant Professor of Drawing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the curriculum director at Studio by the Tracks, an art center that provides free art classes to emotionally conflicted children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other mental illnesses. Their drawings, installations, and books have been exhibited/published both nationally and internationally. Their current works are explorations (visual) and meditations (poetry) centering on their ideas of spirituality, love, death, shelter, and hope. See more of their work at dougbalos.com and on Instagram.
fantastic! quietly powerful images. this from a discarded found object in artist’s clothing (except when posing nude) pjk