Although I work with the feelings of loss, mortality, and the power and delicate nature of memory, my work is a reflection of my attempt to live my life in fragile exultation.
The process of piecing together an image is a meditative exercise for me. I begin with fragmented images, ideas and materials, and layer seemingly dissimilar elements that trigger associations in complex combinations. Most of my recent work reflects a multitude of interests including grief and mortality, nesting and mending, meditation, medical illustration and procedures, and spirituality.
My work is composed of myriad layers of media, ideas and associations. The process of piecing together an image is a meditative exercise for me having as much to do with duration as physical texture or of following the thread of mindfulness. I merge the abstraction of narrative with the physicality of objects.
I see it as a function of time, like the idea of chanting.I want to personify intangible experiences and feelings and make them tangible for my audience. The figurative/medical nature of some of my works stresses the idea of transformation and recovery over victimization. I’m interested in forms and images that accompany the body and in the traces the body leaves: a bed, a nest, a webs, decay and shadows. While drawing and layering found materials, seemingly dissimilar elements begin to trigger associations with other images and ideas.It's my hope that the viewer connects these images by drawing on their own interests and associations. Retired objects and found papers are redeployed as agent of memory that can evoke and reflect on the history of private lives – worn and battered, certain found object evoke sympathy and empathy. Like a dog without a tail we notice an object or book’s history and pluck as survivor.
This idea of fragmentation as well as things left marked or scarred is reinforced through patina of found materials, diversity of subjective textures and disjointed formal structures.The aim of my work has always been to arouse in my audience (as well as myself) an experience of empathy with my subject matter more than sympathy. I try to be very aware of how events are traced and mapped both physically and emotionally - both violent and non-violent (passive). Recently I’m exploring the idea of simultaneously linking the application of media and surface with inner experience, seeking to create books and sculptures that present themselves as humble objects that open into vast, imaginative space for the reader. By using discarded dictionaries (nests of words) and transforming them into “book” sculptures, I hope to explode the text into an embodied visual narrative, a sculpture of our inner life.
An Important part of my research and teaching is supported and contextualized though an emphasis on histories that are deeply interwoven into disciplines as well as political and social themes that inform the field of drawing, paper making, and book arts. My teaching in Bloom studio seeks to be a beacon for solutions as well as an intersection for art and science, history, social justice, and language. I encourage students to connect the seemingly disparate dots that form the complex tapestry of existence and become activists and educators seeking to affect social change and create community while revealing larger truths.
Bloom studio tackles topics that encourage quality community engagement and development and strengthen the legacy of our university and community through education, advocacy and participation. It is my belief that the value of art and culture is paramount to community revitalization while allowing students and projects to attain levels of investigation and achievement that is remarkable. Bloom Studio seeks to be a core conversation in building infrastructure and equity in our community.
Typically communities and cities are sites of inequality and social struggles, but Bloom studio uses the ideas of collaboration, innovation and creativity to propel the community towards positivity and self-agency.
Bloom students conduct particular in-depth research into the history of paper formation, as well as, the history of illustration and create an intersection between sustainable paper making and research related to species extinction. Innovative and sustainable paper making and botanical, animal and insect illustration are perfect catalyst for self-directed inquiry and action as well as addressing significant research and societal issues. This research also provides valuable sustainability information regarding tools and processes of artist studios and addresses long and short-term ecological, social and cultural impact on a continental scale. Students maintain a university paper and dye garden that collaborates and intersects with the sciences on campus and community partners through lectures and demonstrations, both at the garden and in the community.
About The Artist
Douglas Pierre Baulos received his MFA from the University of New Orleans and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
He regularly teaches workshops and lectures on his research in book arts, drawing and visual ecology. In 2009 Baulos won the President’s Award For Excellence In Teaching at UAB.
He currently is the Assistant Professor of Drawing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the curriculum director at Studio by the Tracks, an art center that provide free art classes to emotionally conflicted children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other mental illnesses. His drawings, installations, and books have been exhibited/published both nationally and internationally. His current works are explorations (visual) and meditations (poetry) centering on his ideas of spirituality, love, death, shelter, and hope.
- Visual Ecology
- The History of Scientific Art & Illustration esp. Chemistry and Biology
- The Biology of Seeing
- The History of Book Arts
Research & Teaching Interests
- The Museum of Modern Art. New York, New York
- The J.P. Getty Museum and Research Institute. Los Angeles, California
- The Birmingham Museum of Art. Birmingham, Alabama
- The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, San Francisco, California
- Birmingham Fine Art Services. Birmingham, Alabama
- Vulcan Materials. Birmingham, Alabama
- I Ching Design. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- Le Lizard Bleu Foundation. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- Children’s Hospital. Birmingham, Alabama
- Johnson & Johnson. New York, New York
- Research and Teaching Expertise
Photos: Jared Ragland