139 W. Main Street
Columbus OH 43215
Journey Through the Open Door
A retrospective look at 50 years of art by Tom Baillieul
JUNE 28 - AUGUST 3, 2019
Opening Reception: Friday, June 28, 6-8 pm
In Journey Through the Open Door, Tom Baillieul presents a retrospective of his art making, spanning a career of over 50 years. Works in paint, fiber, and mixed media invited viewers to journey across the Kalahari, out into the stars, over Caribbean waters, or into a Columbus back alley. His inspirations come from many sources, with each idea calling for treatment in a specific style or medium. All of his works are narrative, and the viewer is invited to use the images to build their own stories. Renowned Columbus artist, Evangelia Philippidis, curates the exhibition.
Images: (Left to Right)
Tom Baillieul, Another Door (detail), acrylic on canvas, 30" x 40"
Tom Baillieul, Jacob's Ladder, acrylic on canvas, 26" x 42"
Tom Baillieul, Hiroshima, mixed media (acrylic, paper, wood), 24" x 30"
"In 1971, I became a Peace Corps volunteer and took up my assignment as a geologist with the Botswana Geological Survey. The local Batswana at the Survey gave nicknames to all the white professional staff (mostly Brits or South Africans). I asked and was told that my name was “Lebati lebule geleng,” translated as “The Open Door”. This was due to my habit of always leaving the door to my office open and greeting anyone who came by. As I was considering this exhibition, I realized that the idea of an open door defines my journey as an artist – being open to new experiences; cultures and people; stories and words; scenes large and small; sounds and rhythms; and our ever-increasing understanding of the universe around us.
Growing up, my mother, a trained artist, made sure I had access to the arts – museums, the symphony, summer stock musicals, ballet, and a library full of art books. Goya and Turner became early favorites, along with the Impressionists.
I started painting on my own when I went off to college. These early paintings – in oil - were simplistic, often in monochrome palettes. My time in Africa with the Peace Corps presented a whole new set of ideas, and my skills gradually developed through trial and error. Art continued in the background throughout my professional career as an earth scientist in locations around the country.
In the late 1990s I entered the gallery scene in the Short North, and began entering juried shows. Since that time, my work has been in over 40 juried exhibitions or solo shows, and won 13 awards.
My art falls into “theme lines” that I constantly return to as new ideas come to mind. Inspiration can come from any source: a gallery exhibition, a word or phrase or story, a cartoon, ocean waves, back alleys, patterns in tree bark, a wild print dress, a machine or circuit diagram. Each idea demands treatment in specific media and styles – whether it be paint, fiber, or a mixture of materials. In 2006, my wife, Deb, started me on the path to creating art quilts. From the Internet, I learned how to bend bamboo to create my impressions of the current maps of the Marshall Islanders.
All my creations are narrative. I present a motif, a snapshot image, or a question - whether addressing issues of social or environmental justice, cosmic connections, travel, or the humor of the surreal. I hope to challenge viewers’ perceptions of reality and get them to think deeply about who they are in relation to the world around them.
Come, enter through the open door – and start your own journey."
Tom holds both Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Earth Science from the University of Massachusetts. He has worked in such diverse areas as: mineral exploration around the world; preparing environmental impact studies for the U. S. Government; and leading the clean-up of retired nuclear facilities. Behind the scenes, though, he has always created art. His award-winning work appears regularly in solo and juried shows around central Ohio, and in private collections across the country. Since retiring as a senior scientist and project manager with the Federal government, Tom has become the coordinator of exhibitions for the Main Gallery of the Columbus Cultural Arts Center, and has served on the boards of several central Ohio arts organizations..
Tom is represented by the Terra Gallery, Dublin, Ohio.
Find out more at Tom's website: Earthfriendarts.com