Impressions of Africa Redux (2014) engages with flora, fauna, and cosmology in a multifaceted artistic expression reflective of evolutionary biology and the wellspring of nature. In particular, it responds to modern science’s DNA technology that discovered genetic markers tracing all of humanity back to Africa as its origin. And, just as everyone’s ancestry tells a story of a journey from an African homeland, is a reflection of Brian Dailey's own journeys as an artist.

In the specter of otherworldly and fantastical imagery in Impressions of Africa Redux, visions of flora, fauna, and celestial phantasm draw the viewer into a mesmerizing universe at the intersection of art, nature, and science. The enigmatic animals enveloped by these intricate scenes are animated by their elaborate environments, swirling cosmological forms, and the intensity of the lighting effects. Mounted on plexiglass and dramatically backlit LED panels, the composite images have a surreal cinematic and three-dimensional quality. 

Working in Paris in 1976, Dailey assisted his friend and fellow artist Guy de Cointet with his performance piece Impressions of Africa, a pastiche of the eccentric French writer Raymond Roussel’s 1910 fanciful travelogue of the same name. Four decades after de Cointet’s performances captivated Paris audiences, Dailey’s Impressions of Africa Redux series pays tribute to his friend and the sources of inspiration they shared. At the same time, Dailey shifts the lens from the earlier zeitgeists reflected in Roussel’s and de Cointet’s works. In his creations, he invokes Africa as the cradle of our species, the place of genetic origins for all of humankind. As such, the artist challenges the viewer to better understand and reconnect with our roots, recognizing that we are all united by our genetic markers on ever older branches of the human family tree.

And, of course, the components of DNA come from the materials of our universe and its origins. Thus the cosmological aspects of the Impressions of Africa Redux images bring the project full circle. Not only do the specific celestial images represent the origins of the universe writ large and our minuscule role in it, but they also have particular meaning for the artist, whose earlier work focused on celestial and cosmological aspects of space. Fauna and flora similarly contain encoded meanings in these works. They represent the aspects of nature that have remained unadulterated while we as humans have grown more distant from and lost touch with the natural world. The frozen moments captured in these elaborate tableaux play on a conceptualized narrow distance of time and space, a ritual of virtual travel that oscillates between fact and fiction. A similar duality is reflected in the various beasts of prey, which appear alternately menacing and vulnerable.

All prints available in two formats:

32.25 x 17.25 inches (82 x 44 cm

60 x 30 inches (152 x 76 cm)