Jeff Bailey Gallery is pleased to present Amy Pleasant, On the Ground Below, an exhibition of new paintings and drawings. Pleasant depicts the figure alone, in pairings or small groups. The figures are seen up close, and usually from behind. Our view is blocked, making us spectators in an unknown story.
Each painting represents a moment in time and is part of an open-ended narrative. Figures enter, cross paths, linger or leave. In large and small works, various gestures are explored from different angles and different times of day.
Two of the largest paintings, Wide Open, and Cityscape (72 x 60 inches each) feature the backs of very large female heads, almost filling the canvas. Bold and dark brush strokes articulate their hair, while drips, sprays and thin layers of paint depict skin, clothing and shadows. The size of the heads in relation to the viewer imply a certain intimacy, yet the extreme close-ups seem to break down the images.
Most of the figures are shown in unoccupied spaces, looking outward, perhaps through a window or toward the edge of a horizon. They are the indistinct places that any of us have passed through or seen, where meaningful events happened or not. Pleasant calls attention to both memory and experience, and how the passage of time blurs both.
This is Pleasant’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. She has had other solo exhibitions at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL; Coleman Center for the Arts, York, AL; Clough-Hanson Gallery, Rhodes College, Memphis and other venues. Exhibition reviews have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Art in America, Artforum and numerous other publications.
Her work has been featured in group exhibitions at The Weatherspoon Art Museum, (NC), The National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Art in Embassies Program, the Columbus Museum of Art (GA) and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (NC). Pleasant received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA from Tyler School of Art. She lives and works in Birmingham, Alabama.