Radcliffe Bailey is a painter, sculptor, and mixed media artist who utilizes the layering of imagery, culturally resonant materials, and text to explore themes of ancestry, race, and memory. Bailey believes that by translating his personal experiences, he can achieve an understanding of, and a healing from, a universal history. His work is often made from found materials and certain pieces from his past, including traditional African sculpture, tintypes of his family members, piano keys, and Georgia red clay.
In a 2013 interview with Lilly Lampe in BOMBlog, Bailey described his creative process, “the day by day experience of art, even though my work may seem to have this layer of history, it is also a cover for what I’m dealing with on a day to day. It’s very much about today. We were talking about where I go next: I’m still thinking about today and yesterday and what’s coming in front of me tomorrow. It’s my attitude to my studio practice.”
Bailey was born in Bridgeton, New Jersey in 1968, and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, where he currently lives and works today. Bailey received a BFA in 1991 from The Atlanta College of Art.
In response to his show Memory as Medicine (2012), at The High Museum, the artist is described, “Bailey harmonizes an intuitive balance of world history and familial memory. Through exploration of the past, the present, and the unknown, Bailey layers meaning into his art by layering objects. Combining two and three dimensional forms, he uses various mediums and scale to create a diverse and engaging collection of art that can be read together as pages of the same book.”
His past solo exhibitions include, Memory as Medicine, High Museum of Art, Atlanta (2011), which traveled to the Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, and the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX. New/Now: Radcliffe Bailey, New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT (2004). His work was featured in the group exhibitions Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art (2016-17) at The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, and will travel to the Speed Art Museum, where it will be on view April 29 – August 20, 2017; and Neo-HooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith, organized by The Menil Collection, Houston, TX, at Miami Art Museum, FL (2009), and traveled to MoMA P.S.1, NY (2009). Bailey’s work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, among others.
Jack Shainman Gallery has represented Bailey since 2002. Solo exhibitions in the gallery include Quest (2016), Maroons (2014), Outer Spaceways (2011), Altered Destiny (2007), and Meet Me by the River (2002).