IMPRESSIONS OF AFRICA REDUX
In the specter of otherworldly and fantastical imagery of Impressions of Africa Redux, images of flora, fauna, and celestial phantasm draw the viewer into a mesmerizing universe. Many of the same creatures from the Eidolon project reappear in the Impressions of Africa series, this time however animated by their elaborate environments, swirling cosmological forms, and the intensity of the lighting effects.
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. Nearly forty years 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. Roussel’s mantra, “imagination accounts for everything in my works,” is echoed in Dailey’s imaginative compositions wherein logic is equally defied. Mounted on plexiglass and dramatically backlit, the five-foot tall composite images have a surreal cinematic and three-dimensional quality, echoing the evocative nature of Roussel’s endeavor.
The cosmological aspects of the Impressions of Africa Redux images introduce another dimension of significance to this project. 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 at the White House National Space Council 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. As our increasingly urban society continues to divorce us from nature, our connection to and understanding of our existence and origins—particularly as it relates to the African cradle of our species—becomes even more remote.