Through built environments and dioramas, Erica Bailey explores domestic space as parallel to psychological spaces, reflective of the fragmented, discontinuous, and indeterminate nature of physical and psychological being. Distinctions between interior and exterior are shifting, suggesting equally unfixed distinctions between self and other. This indeterminacy extends throughout her installations. Through multiple instances of the same space, each inconsistent with the next, shifts in scale from miniature to gigantic, and the presentation of time as halting or passing erratically, Erica creates a sense of the uncanny. The familiar becomes subtly or overtly strange.
Erica received her MFA in three-dimensional media from the University of Cincinnati and her BFA in sculpture from The Ohio State University. She has completed several large-scale installation projects in Columbus and Cincinnati, OH, and has exhibited in group exhibitions on the campuses of Columbia College in Chicago and Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.
I am thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in Blue Sky Project. It is a rare luxury to have the means by which to pass eight weeks in the pursuit of nothing other than the creation of new work. The importance of the financial and logistical support provided by the program cannot be overstated, nor can the creative and moral support provided by the community of artists that the program brings together.
Determining how to effectively communicate the conceptual concerns of my work in a way that engaged the youth participants required patience and ingenuity. This challenge, once met, yielded exciting results. The brainstorming sessions during which we determined the physical and conceptual details of the project we would construct for the final exhibition were the highlight of my interactions with the youth. These were the moments of real collaboration, during which the breadth of the youth’s imaginations came to bear on the ideas that have driven my work. These sessions were followed by the often times mundane work of constructing the project. I was impressed with the youth’s commitment during this phase considering that the rewards that the project offered, however great, were delayed. After a long road from conceptualization to completion, the sense of satisfaction and pride that both I and the youth felt at the final exhibition was overwhelming.
Blue Sky Project provided an amazing opportunity to share with young people the expressive potential that installation art offers as well as the particularities of my approach to it, and I, in turn, was reminded of the power that imagination can yield when it is unrestrained by conventions or expectations. I look forward to affording myself the act of dreaming freely and letting the results of this dreaming inform my future practice.