Meditations in an Emergency
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 featured 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.
The exhibition was part of South West Showcase, a recurring open call platform (est 2013), showcasing artists from across the South West region. The showcase aims to support contemporary artists working and living in the South West through a year long programme of mentoring and support with an exhibition outcome; presenting a long-term commitment to profiling and supporting the practices of artists in this region.
MEDITATIONS IN AN EMERGENCY
Picking my way through the tide of tan-lined flip-flopping tourists along the streets of St Ives on a particularly hot July day, I arrive at Simon Bayliss’s small Porthmeor studio to talk about his forthcoming solo exhibition, Meditations in an Emergency, at Plymouth College of Art.