Merlin Dailey, Artist

Bird Woman, Woodcut, 24 1/2" high x 16 1/2" wide

“The world is an amazing circumstance that we are born into,” Merlin Dailey asserts. “When I revisit works that I have created over a period of years, I see the truth of that statement for me. I am amazed that current attitudes I have about image making are not different from my earliest impressions. They are mirror images of what I’m exploring now which is the transformation of the human spirit.”

In a rare showing of work that spans Merlin Dailey’s lifelong career in art, Inkblotz Studio & Gallery in Geneva will offer a retrospective entitled “Transformations” this Spring. Along with selected prints, such as Dark Angel, The Messenger, Bird Woman and Tree Man, the show will feature drawings, paintings and ceramic work.

“Something is lost,” Merlin suggests, “when humans are locked into life circumstances, personal history, or who knows what. Art allows me to invent escape routes. Whether I am working in clay, paint or wood, I have discovered that each medium offers its own particular format to explore the transformation of ideas into images. For instance, in the woodblock print Bird Woman, her desire for freedom is evident. Her identification with flight is as compelling to me now as it was 30 years ago. Pablo Neruda, the great Chilean poet, has said ‘If he does not fly, man loses his way.’

Not one to lose his way, Merlin Dailey has always pursued his ideals in art and in life “as if destiny held the door open.” He completed his BFA at Kansas City Art Institute and his MFA in printmaking and Asian art history at the University of Indiana. Early in his career, he taught art at Memphis State University, Keuka College, and Eisenhower College. In 1970, he left teaching to open the East West Gallery in Victor, which he founded and directed for over 30 years. With his wife Mary Ann, also an artist, Merlin was among the first dealers in America to offer Japanese wood block prints to museums and collectors worldwide. His gallery is now online through www.merlindailey.com

At present, Merlin continues to work in his studio drawing, painting and sculpting. He is a member of the International Fine Print Dealers Association, Appraisers Association of America, and the Japan Ukiyo-e Society and has begun to write a memoir of life experiences. “I’m re-investing soul and energy into my teaching and writing, redefining who I am as a human being and an artist.”

After 40 years of making art, it is not difficult to understand why Merlin believes that “art and the act of living are inseparable.”

Opening night & artist’s reception for “Transformations” at Inkblotz Studio & Gallery, Geneva, is scheduled for Friday March 26 from 7:30-9:00 p.m. Show continues Saturdays through May 5. For more information, contact Angela Krueger, Inkblotz director at (315) 789-0589 or e-mail inkblotz@hotmail.com


by Angela Krueger