PAINTINGS AND TEXT BY SCOTT BAILEY
A BOMB’S-EYE VIEW
Transforming the intimate landscapes of satellite imagery
WHEN I RETURNED HOME after more than a decade
abroad, I found myself in the slow process of emerging
from reverse culture shock. With this group of paintings, all created in 2005, I reintroduced myself to rural
eastern Washington State, the landscape of my youth.
My travels have both permitted and forced me to view
this region in the context of the global community, and
this work is an expression of that altered perspective as
seen through the lens of contemporary technology.
During the early twentieth century, the development
of aerial photography coincided with the revolutions of
modernist abstract painting, giving army generals
detailed surveillance information about the landscape
they hoped to conquer, and giving artists a new way of
processing space and time. Like modernist paintings,
images taken from above are naturally ?at, devoid of
the traditional cues of perspective and scale, so interpreting them required a leap of imagination for people
still struggling to comprehend that man could ?y.
Today, satellite imagery provides information
about places near and far to anyone with Internet
access. Portable and omnipresent, the technology is
global by de>nition, yet meticulously local in practice.
Once only for government o;cials, spy satellite data
LEF T: 47º14’ 45”N, 119º18’ 53” W
CENTER: 47º15’ 13”N, 119º27’ 29” W