Without Warranty 2022

Bailey found a box of her mother’s knitting patterns in the family garage during the Covid 19 Pandemic lockdown. The paper brochure instructions by companies such Wendy, Hayfield, Emu and Paton feature wool jumpers, the styles and colours on the cover models reflecting the typical seventies, suburban family fashion.

Over time and use by her mother, the surface paper of these knitting patterns had acquired intriguing, cracked, surface creases and rips. Bailey re-imagines the white lines breaking up the front cover images reflecting a visual ageing process or a period of teenage trauma and angst. Surface marks resembling scars, were made probably by the knitting needles, stored in a basket, weaving over the images removing the print, peeling it off like broken skin.

Bailey recalls jumpers knitted for her, and her siblings, and the dislike of their universal conformity and itchiness. In her latest series Without Warranty 2022 Bailey adds a reverse twist to the fashion instructions, using an unpredictable cross-processing technique that flips the muted, dull yarns into vibrant, contrasting colours.

Bailey’s memory of her teenage years were defined by new music tastes. Her older brother brought records home weekly, being a young DJ on a London pirate radio station, playing jazz, funk, soul, and disco. In the late seventies ‘punk rock’ arrived, disrupting the music scene, and it is the various punk bands’ title lyrics that Bailey recalls being so ground breaking; the voice of youth was loud and confrontational. Bailey’s titles create a new narrative; teenage kicks, little monster and rebel girl turns these passive young fashion models into rebellious pop stars on top ten album covers. Revisiting the intriguing white lines of cracked paper, littered across the series, Bailey is reminded of the 1983 hip hop song White Lines (don’t do it), credited to DJ Grandmaster Flash, the lyrics of which allude to the dangers of recreational drug taking.

To this day, Punk Rock has divided opinion. The bright, exciting, lurid colours, of dyed hair, ripped shirts and jumpers were deliberately attention seeking; potent symbols of anti-establishment rebellion, set within a challenging political climate. This is evident within titles like smash it, bondage up and dirty angel, which underline such anarchic behaviour. Turmoil and disorder is also prevalent in white riot and search and destroy, where the model’s fingers clasp toys, inadvertently transforming these passive objects into implements of aggression and menace. However, more noticeable, through this cross processing technique are the contrasting surreal colours of the skin and hair of the photo models. The hands become bruising tones of blue, purple, green and red indicating altercations, possible fighting. The one duplex image of the series titled teenage kicks A-side and true confessions B-side shows bright pink and dark blue hands clasping cups, the content of which may be something more potent than ice cream.

The angst of teenage years prevail in this new, reflective series. Bailey titles one image love threat. The adult hand on the child’s shoulder (which is eerily camouflaged) suggests either a form of protection from physical contact or maybe a ‘me-too’ moment of sexual violence. In many of her series Bailey leaves clues in her work for the viewer to decipher and decide for themselves.

Title: Smash It
Title: Rebel Girl
Title: Bondage Up
Title: Blister Lust
Title: Death & Glory
Title: New Rose

Title: Love Threat
Title: Little Monster
Title: Search and Destroy
Title: White Riot
Title: Teenage Kicks (Side-A)
Title: True Confessions (Side-B)

All artwork and images © Veronica Bailey 2024.