Brian Dailey

WORDS and America in Color

January 11th–February 8th, 2019
AFA Fine Art Building Gallery – NOVA Alexandria Campus

January 11th–March 3rd, 2019
Schlesinger Art Center – Forum Gallery – NOVA Alexandaria Campus

America in Color

American In Color

Over the course of a two-year period, photographer Brian Dailey traveled across the country with the objective of capturing individual portraits of the uncelebrated American electorate. From Jackson Square in downtown New Orleans to the open range in Texas, he organized impromptu photo shoots with more than 1,200 citizens, including those with no interest in politics or voting. In the portraits each individual expresses their personal identity casually in dress and pose, while their political identity is a chosen backdrop: blue for Democrat, red for
Republican, grey for Independent, green for the Green Party and orange for those who don’t vote.

The resulting body of work, Brian Dailey: America in Color challenges our perceptions of the many components and individuals that shape the American political process.



WORDS is the artist’s investigation into the relationship between
language, culture, and national identity and the challenges we face in our efforts to communicate key concepts across linguistic boundaries and national borders in the age of globalization. His virtual Tower
of Babel is a contemporary turn on the Biblical story explaining the worldwide diversity of languages, a tale with parallels in ancient Sumerian and Assyrian myths. WORDS is the artist’s creative summation of his global experiences, compelling viewers to come to terms with
the complex relationship between language and concept,
between interpretation and meaning.


Brian Dailey

Perhaps no word better characterizes Brian Dailey (b. 1951) than polytropos, the first adjective Homer applies to Odysseus in The Odyssey. Translated from the Greek as “well traveled,” “much wandering,” and, in a more metaphorical sense, as “the man of many twists and turns,” polytropos suitably describes Dailey’s life journey and its many peregrinations. After Otis Art Institute (MFA, 1975), Dailey participated in the pioneering creative experimentation defining the prolific artistic milieu in California in this era. His early career launched him on a path that—before bringing him full circle back to his roots as an artist—took him through a twenty-year interlude working on arms control and international security. These unusual experiences, which he approached with the same curiosity that has driven his art, provide a fertile source of inspiration in his idiosyncratic creative practice. As the artist states:

“There is art in politics and politics in art. Throughout my life two passions stimulated my curiosity: art and international politics. The tension between two interests generated my intense inquiry into these seemingly diametrically opposed professional fields. In the context of my career, the wanderings through a labyrinth of artistic and intellectual encounters provided a lifetime of eclectic experiences, which, in turn, supplied a bounty of material for my art. With two-and-a-half decades of in-depth engagement with the issues my current work addresses, I am able to explore them with direct experience and knowledge. In that context, I am exploring the legacy of my odyssey in government and business as a way to relate those experiences to contemporary social and political issues and as a means through which to create contemplative works of art.”

Based in the Washington DC metropolitan area, Dailey is an artist whose work in a range of media, including photography, film, installations, and painting, draws on his multifaceted life experiences. His conceptual and performance based art expands the parameters of the mediums in which he works, defying easy categorization. Engaging with the social, political, and cultural issues of our times, his work is informed by his unusual background and unconventional evolution as an artist.

Learn more about Brian from his website

Follow Brian Dailey on Instagram at @artroadstudios

Follow the projects on facebook at @wordsbriandailey and @contrast.series