Trent Davis Bailey
American, born 1985
Trent Davis Bailey draws from his personal history and photographic encounters as well as historical and archival research. His current projects delve into idiosyncratic communities in America and emphasize the interrelationship of images and memory.
In his series The North Fork, Bailey looks to a remote river valley in western Colorado. A Colorado native himself, the artist was drawn to and inspired by the vastness of his home state, its rich agrarian history, and the assorted characters who inhabit the high plains. While living for three years in New York City, Bailey developed a yearning for the mountainous landscape he explored as a child. He was also curious about his extended family — an aunt, an uncle, and seven cousins — who he hadn’t seen in 20 years. Describing his childhood memories of them, Bailey says, “[They lived in] a large rectangular army tent assembled at the base of a mountain. Their backyard had three ponds and a garden, where they grew their own food, and beyond that there was a dense forest of juniper trees where I imagined coyotes, black bears, and mountain lions lurked.” Bailey had fond memories of his cousins and he marveled over their world, but due to a falling out between his father and his uncle, he only visited the North Fork a few times as a child. Now, some twenty years later, the artist has established an unhurried routine of excursions to the valley. As Bailey puts it, “I use photography to piece together my experience of this landscape and its inhabitants — paralleling my own complex terrain of memory and family.”
Trent Davis Bailey received his MFA from the California College of the Arts, and his BFA in Photography and BA in Art History from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is the recipient of the 2015 Snider Prize from the Museum of Contemporary Photography and a 2014 Atlantic Philanthropies Grant awarded by the Magnum Foundation. In 2016, he was an artist-in-residence at Anderson Ranch Arts Center and a lecturer in the photography program at the California College of the Arts. His work has been exhibited internationally and is held in the permanent collection at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, among others.