On Bailin's 'Trails' 

David Bailin exhibit at U of A, "Delta Exhibition," graffiti murals at UCA, M2 Gallery to raise money for Haiti.

"DIVER": Bailin charcoal at UA's Fine Arts Gallery.
  • "DIVER": Bailin charcoal at UA's Fine Arts Gallery.
David Bailin's narrative large-scale charcoals have always addressed the human condition. “Diver” (55” by 51½'') for example, based, he says on a Greek wall painting by that name, is of a man who's nodded off on a boat, unaware he's about to plunge over a waterfall. That's how most of us go through life, to our regret. Bailin's an exception. He's spending his artistic life exploring the existential (man lost in the wilderness, indoors and out) and the mystical (his Midrash drawings of the Biblical stories), in a scale — some of the works are huge — reflective of the universality of the subject matter.

For the first time in nearly a decade, Bailin will exhibit his drawings in Arkansas, at the University in Fayetteville. (His last show was at the Arkansas Arts Center in 2000.) “Paper Trails” is an exhibit of large-scale drawings inspired by news and magazine clippings made over his career, with themes that reflect the times he's lived in — South American unrest in the 1980s, power lunches in the '90s, terrorism in this century's first decade. In an essay on the works he selected for the show, Bailin writes that “because it is a collection sprung from my own artistic and personal needs, it is a skewed view. Those images that resonated with me and that generated new ideas were/are like a personal Rorschach test.”

“Paper Trails” has debuted in Fayetteville, at the University of Arkansas Fine Arts Center, where it will hang until Feb. 4. Bailin will give a gallery talk on the closing day at 5 p.m. Luckily for people in this neck of the woods who won't make it to the UA, “Paper Trails” will come to the Arkansas Studies Institute in March for a three-month run.

A reminder: The Arkansas Arts Center's “Delta Exhibition” opens Friday, Jan. 29. Juror was Martha Tedeschi, curator of prints and drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago and author of “Great Drawings from the Art Institute of Chicago: The Harold Joachim Years, 1958-1983” and works on Whistler and Winslow Homer. A list of Arkansas artists included in the show can be found at www.arkansasartnotes.tumblr.com and the Times' website, www.arktimes.com.

Baum Gallery at UCA strayed from the ordinary last week when it opened its spring shows. “Tagged, Stamped & Stenciled: Guerilla Art ‘Goes Gallery' ” turns the gallery into a subway station with three large murals created by San Francisco artist Mark Bode (of “Cobalt 60,” “Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles” fame). Visitors can create their own graffiti tags in an adjacent room. UCA students will perform in the gallery as well, in the spirit of street performers. “Polarized Dispersions,” a multi-media installation by UCA professor Michael Wyshock, features computer-generated images projected on suspended fabric. Wyshock is a past winner of the Pollock Krasner Award.

The 2010 “Small Works on Paper” exhibit of the Arkansas Arts Council has opened in Searcy at the Searcy Art Gallery, 300 Race St. Suzanne Bloom, professor of art at the University of Houston, selected 39 works from among 300 entries for the show, now in its 23rd year. James P. Bell of Fort Smith, Evan Lindquist of Jonesboro and Dennis McCann of Maumelle won purchase awards; their work goes into a permanent collection.

“Small Works” stays in Searcy through January before moving to Lyon College in Batesville for a month. It comes to UALR in October. For the full schedule, go to www.arkansasarts.com.

M2 Gallery is co-sponsor of a benefit for Red Cross efforts in Haiti. “Relief on the Ridge” will take place 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, at Pleasant Ridge Town Center, in the storefront between the Kitchen Co. and Istanbul restaurant. There will be a silent auction, music and food donated by businesses. All money raised will go to the relief effort.

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