David Bailin

Artist Statement

THE ERASING I have never thought much about the role memory plays in the preservation and continuity of one’s identity. As an artist who witnessed the waning of my father’s personhood through the dissolution of his memory, I wrestled with how to convey the devastating personal and human experience of memory loss without relying on visual clichés. The final image in my drawings is largely the result of the pentimenti that moved the narrative along but did not resolve it. Sometimes, instead, the layers of earlier drawings overpower the last, like quicksand under a surface of marks and erasures. Those unresolved drawings, with stratum of partially rendered scenes and gestures, were the visual and technical cues for the Erasing series. The frustration of trying to define what was unformed yet intimated by what appeared earlier–the back-and-forth process of drawing in and erasing out, having an idea or image revealing itself one minute only to fall back into obscurity the next–mimicked what I saw happen to my father in his heroic effort to recognize in the moment his own narrative This series is the result of my final collaboration with my father. As with his memories, only the ghosts are left.

– Bailin, 2018