Amadea Bailey Greek: kinein ‘to move’ + aesthesis ‘sensation’ Light.  Space.  Movement.  Three key elements to not only Bailey’s paintings, but every aspect of her life.  In fact, all three of these elements were what motivated her to initially  become a painter, to later move from New York City to Los Angeles’s Westside, where she was captivated by the Southern California light and life-style. “I began painting after my junior year at Yale,” Bailey recalls. “I had decided to take a detour through Manhattan on my way home for the summer.  MOMA was having an exhibition of late paintings by Monet.  I walked into that show and was absolutely blown away -- by the scale, the surface and the abstraction of the Water Lilies.  I had never seen anything like it.  My whole body screamed, ‘I have to do this.  I want to move across a giant space like this.’  I went back to MOMA three days in a row.  I had to start painting.  And it had to be big.” Space is key to Bailey.  Though a painter, her body is just as vital a component to her expression as a dancer’s is.  Her art is born of movement – kinein – and sensation – aesthesis. “Painting is for me very physical.  It is a sensual, immediate, visceral act, very much like dancing, yoga and surfing.  I learn about the world through movement and touch, light and color.  I’m not one of these painters that can go into the studio for 14 hours.  I go in and the impulses move through my body in bursts of energy.” One of the first paintings Amadea did that she considers a successful work is entitled La Dance C’est Moi.”  It is a 8’ x 12’ explosion of blue about her experience of joy and exhilaration while learning to windsurf.  It was recently bought for a large public space in Los Angeles. Born in Gottingen, Germany, Amadea is the first child of her parents who met while attending seminary there.  In the  early sixties Marjean and Jack Bailey moved to Limuru, Kenya (22 miles outside Nairobi) with their four children so Amadea’s father could pursue his work as an Episcopalian missionary. Faith was key to Bailey’s upbringing, but it is Eastern, not Episcopalian, spiritual beliefs that resonate for her. “I believe Talent for an artist is a God-given gift, so it is my responsibility to develop that gift to the fullest.  I truly feel that is one of the reasons I am here.  Right before I began to study at the New York Studio School in Greenwich Village, I was driving across the Brooklyn Bridge when I had this moment.  Every cell in my being lined up.  I felt myself committing to a life as an artist..  For better or for worse – that was it.” Bailey’s process is ritualistic.  “How can I use myself in the best possible way to make a contribution that is unique?  I ask to be a vehicle for divine inspiration . It is not about ‘me expressing me,’ it is about ‘me removing me’ so that something bigger can come through.”  Painting becomes a vehicle for Amadea to express strong emotions as well as a way to tap into the world of the unconscious. One of her most important tools is the studio she designed in collaboration with architect Michael Eldridge. “I had a very clear idea of what I wanted and Michael did a brilliant job. I would say it was one of the most extraordinary things I ever did -- the most amazing creative enterprise.  I loved it.  It was like giving birth.” The studio is Bailey’s sanctuary.  “I think it is a dream studio,” she proudly admits.  “People walk in and say they feel like they are walking into a church or cathedral.  It is a sacred space.” With twenty-foot high ceilings, six huge skylights,  over-sized custom French doors on two sides, the space is flooded with light.  The new studio has dramatically influenced Bailey’s paintings. Bailey’s work has always been influenced by the Abstract Expressionist “action painters” of the forties and fifties. Now, in the new studio, after years of pure abstraction, words have crept into the paintings and the words are morphing into figurative images. “The images are iconic representations,” she explains, “symbols from my unconscious or from the world around me  that tell a  story and  which I make manifest on the canvas.”  The surfaces of the paintings are highly textured, layered with paint, papers and medium that are like her personal geology.  She builds up the canvas, scratches into it, scrapes away, adds more layers, digs deep again. Bailey believes it is no accident that within the safe surroundings of her studio – light, space, movement – she also craves more intimacy and is willing to take risks, be more vulnerable, both personally and artistically.  In this sanctum, she believes, “anything is possible.”

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