MAN WITH A CHECKERED PAST

C-Print on Dibond, 2009

A virtual manifesto of the artist, this tableau encapsulates Dailey’s life and creative vision. Reflected in the convex mirror on the back wall, the artist is seen shooting his self-portrait in a sly reference to the famous Jan van Eyck Arnolfini Portrait. Like that 15th century painting, this composition is replete with complex iconographic references and veiled symbolism that suggest hidden meanings masked behind the deceptively simple symmetry. Two defining stages of the artist’s life—past and present—are represented by his doppelgangers, each competing for the viewers’ attention through their unrelenting gazes from opposing sides of the black and white divide. Interpretative clues large and small are embedded throughout the composition; whether thinly veiled in book titles, burning or extinguished candles, and the unmistakable language of the animal kingdom or enigmatically enshrouded in barely discernible Latin phrases and obscure numerology, these signifiers contribute to the work's complex layering of meanings.