CM: Although the painting of Dr. John S. Bailey was created based on a photograph, Vassilis Liaouris gave priority to the sitter's character rather than his appearance. This is a quick sketch in oil, which -thanks to the experienced brushtrokes- may not exactly describe the figure's appearance, but rather eloquently expresses its psychism. The sketch suggests the portrait's characteristics with freshness, and the spontaneous strokes of paint evoke his frank and unadorned appearance. The approach is more direct, as if the model is in front of the viewer. The sitter is perhaps the greatest legacy of The American College of Greece, through its history since 1875. Dr. John S. Bailey, who since 1975 served the College as its president and since 2008 as its chancellor, is clearly a leader. At the same time however, over three decades, he has been close to youth and accessible to it, which explains the painter's homely and modern approach. Choosing a palette in which the magenta color prevails, the painter represents Dr. Bailey as a vigorous and leading person with an optimistic and anxious look. Having supervised the making of considerable new buildings on campus during his term, Dr. Bailey stands against a background occupied by a scaffolded façade. The background embraces the figure as a mist. Reading the Memoirs of James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), Liaouris was caught by the following advice on the process of painting: "bring it out of the mist and then put it back into the mist". Liaouris positions the present portrait in an atmospheric space. Model and background harmonize; while the portrait's essential form is completed by the eye of the beholder.
[Megakles Rogakos 06/2008]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Silent Dialogues: Multimedia Portraits Throughout Time 2008 The American College of Greece, Athens