troy-anthony baylis

In Public

Troy-Anthony Baylis's practice as artist, performer and web-site guru is a spider-web collaboration of Pop sources: Kylie Minogue, Tina Turner, Tiny Tim, Barbara Cartland, Ricky Martin, The Rolling Stones and Prince. The work manifests itself in painting, sculpture, performance and publicity. The artist does it all, and maintains his practice by consistently blurring the distinction between public and private. Tray, after a week of three performances, two exhibitions and numerous film shoots would presumably have very little of his private self left. No matter- stardom is the name of the game here and whether the cause be adopting trees or the GST this artist never misses a flash.

Baylis is aware of the inadequacy of the galley space as a venue in which to voice his views: a gallery turnover is too slow for this kind of urgency. The artist's work appears in karaoke bars, social pages, political newspapers, churches, Christmas parties, nightclubs and web sites. All events are documented, filed and numbered. Here the possibilities for an artist's practice are expanded physically and socially.

lt seems to be Baylis's view of society, a view which recognises the common desire to dress up and be seen, that enables him to perform whenever he wants to do so. The process is of recognising aspects of oneself in popular culture and, in his case, what results is a hybrid of mock stars such as Kaboobie and Ricky Mortis. By collecting ephemera related to Kylie , Barbara Cartland and Ricky Martin, the artist proclaims and liberates the part of himself which wants to be these people. The result is a will towards the destruction of the private self, not unlike that of Andy Warhol. In this context, Ricky Mortis is perhaps the most interesting of Tray's performing bodies. Mortis, a Mexican goth figure complete with white make up and sombrero, turns the dialogue of the self-preserving star upside down. Or does it? Mortis is death: the artist's costume is based on the dolls that are celebrated on the Day of the Dead in August in Mexico. But in this world , even death dresses up, becomes a star, and has his picture taken .. .

Maybe one of the sacrifices made by Troy Anthony Baylis is that of his private self. Any time left over from his performances is time spent tending to his personas. There are costumes to wash, wigs to comb, collections to count. lt may come as a surprise though, that within this flickering sequence of pop-culture events, the artist does not own a television.