Introducing Deering Estate’s Artist in Residence: John William Bailly

John William Bailly is a French-American artist who combines history, place, and culture by ways of a Trans-Atlantic dialogue with his work. Using printmaking techniques and painting throughout the years to create his pieces, Bailly’s main goal has been to explore the question of how society and the individual are represented in a historical context.

2022 is Bailly’s second year as a Deering Estate Artist in Residence, specifically as a McCormick fellow. His studio, located in the Power House East, is where Bailly creates some of his most remarkable and eye-catching pieces. It is because of the studio at the Estate that Bailly is able to engage with fellow artists and the community at large through several planned lectures with guest speakers, as well as tours and events. In fact, John William Bailly: In Situ, an exhibition conceptualized to showcase the work done during his residency will be on view from September 9th to November 13th in the Stone House’s Great Hall exhibition space. 

Bailly received an MFA in painting and printmaking from Yale University. In 2004, he became a Faculty Fellow of the Honors College at Florida International University, where he currently serves as the Faculty Director of Honors France, Italy, and Spain Study Abroad program. In this role, he actively encourages students to travel the world and culturally enrich themselves while pursuing their chosen degrees. 

He has exhibited extensively at galleries and museums around the U.S, including the University of Maine Museum of Art, Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Art, and Texas State University. His recognitions extend to awards such as the South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship for Visual and Media Artists and the McCormick Fellowship for Artists in Residence at the Deering Estate. The current exhibit at Deering Estate allows Bailly to share his perception of archeological sites located inside the Estate, such as the Burial Mound and the Cutler Fossil Site.

Here is an interview with John William Bailly, where he discusses his new exhibit, his experience at Deering Estate, and his background as an artist: 

Q: What message do you hope your guests take away from your latest exhibit at Deering Estate?

A: The exhibition explores the natural and cultural history of Miami by reflecting on the archeological sites at the Deering Estate.  My aim is for viewers to discover the extensive history and diversity of Miami.

Q: What pushed you to include various historical aspects in your art pieces?

A: In discovering and further studying the 10,000-year history of the Deering Estate, my perception of Miami transformed.  The Deering Estate is a composite of world history captured in a unique and pristine Miami subtropical landscape.

Q: How has your experience as an Artist in Residence shaped and defined your skills?

A: The Residency at the Deering Estate led to a personal sense of awe and wonder, which in turn led me to document this through in-situ drawings. Drawing is my manner of processing information, and I don’t think I will ever stop discovering new subjects to draw at the Deering Estate.

Q: How has your French-American upbringing impacted your work?

A: As a French-American artist that spends a substantial portion of each year on both continents, the Trans-Atlantic exchange is not only an interesting cultural subject but it is also personal to me. I find Miami and Paris to be both my home and foreign lands. In the 16th century, two Tequesta [Indigenous people from Southeastern Florida] traveled from the land that we now call Miami to Sevilla and back to Miami. That is incredible. I think about their journey often and try to imagine what their thoughts were and how that journey transformed both continents. In a sense, every Miamian is repeating their journey in our own personal manner, finding our place in a forever transforming city, culture, and landscape. These paintings are my way of trying to find my place.

For a new take on our past and an immersive art experience, make sure to stop by Deering Estate for John William Bailly: In Situ. An exhibit evening will also be hosted on opening day, September 9th, from 6 PM to 9 PM. For more information, please visit the link here. Tickets can be reserved online for the exhibition evening and artist reception.

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