Meditations in an Emergency takes its title from a poem by Frank O’Hara, written as prose-like musings on the subject of cultural identity and romantic heartbreak, spiked with landscape imagery. The word meditations (plural), suggests a gathering of thoughts or expressions on a subject, while emergency sets the pace.
The starting point for the exhibition is the dance track, accompanying a new moving image work, which occupies the genre of acid trance. Bayliss has been producing dance music for more than two decades and is influenced by the rave culture of East Devon and West Cornwall, where he grew up and now lives. The moving image work is inspired by the recent international controversy surrounding the homoerotic video of Russian air cadets dancing to Benny Benassi’s club anthem Satisfaction, and features material found online and filmed by the artist at an undisclosed location in Cornwall.
The exhibition also features ceramics, poetry and painting, building on Bayliss’ ongoing interest in working within craft-based traditions. Slipware pottery and en plein air landscape painting are staples within the artists practice, through which Bayliss playfully explores painterly expression, as well as his conflicting feelings of reverence and irreverence towards the artistic legacies of Cornwall. Woven throughout the exhibition are explorations of rural and queer identity, romanticism and a surreal sense of place.
Simon Bayliss is one of two artists selected for the South West Showcase 2018. The South West Showcase is a recurring open call platform, showcasing artists from across the South West region via the production of two solo exhibitions. The showcase aims to celebrate contemporary artists working and living in the South West through a supportive scheme which develops and profiles these artists practices.