Thanks to a grant from the Arts Council of Fairfax County, the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) is pleased to present Radcliffe Bailey: The Great Dismal Swamp, on view from April 21 through July 8, 2017. Radcliffe Bailey (b. 1968, Bridgeton, New Jersey; lives and works in Atlanta) is a nationally-recognized painter, sculptor, and mixed-media artist who layers imagery, culturally resonant materials, and text to explore themes of ancestry, race, and memory. The Great Dismal Swamp is the artist’s first solo exhibition in the metro DC area. He has previously participated in group exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland.
Bailey has long treated issues of race and the historical experiences of African Americans in his work, mining his personal ancestry as well as the history and legacy of slavery. At GRACE, Bailey will present a selection of newly commissioned mixed-media works exploring his family history in Virginia, as well as the history of the state’s Great Dismal Swamp. The Great Dismal Swamp, a federally-designated national wildlife refuge in Southeastern Virginia, concealed and sheltered communities of slaves fleeing captivity on the Underground Railroad. “Viewing Radcliffe’s work is like digging through strata of history, encapsulated in lush layers of paint, embodied within evocative objects, or reflected in found images of African Americans,” observed guest curator Holly Koons McCullough, formerly of GRACE and now Executive Director at the Arlington Arts Center. “This new body of work plumbs the depths of Virginia’s history, exploring the communities of freed and escaped slaves that inhabited the dense and difficult marshland of the Great Dismal Swamp. Although deeply rooted in his personal and cultural heritage, Bailey’s work ultimately addresses universal themes of identity and ancestry, hurt and healing, displacement and endurance.”
Bailey received a BFA in 1991 from the Atlanta College of Art. His work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; the Denver Art Museum; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; among many others. The artist is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
The Greater Reston Arts Center would like to express its deepest gratitude to the Arts Council of Fairfax County. The Arts Council of Fairfax County is the voice of the arts, dedicated to fostering dynamic and diverse local arts, ensuring that arts thrive by providing vision, leadership, capacity building services, advocacy, funding, education and information.
“We are pleased to support the stellar work that GRACE is doing. Across Fairfax County, arts and culture are helping to build stronger communities, improving the quality of life, and fostering economic growth. The Arts Council’s grant programs provide vital funds for basic operation of local arts organizations and recognize the valuable programs and services they provide to Fairfax County residents.”
— Linda S. Sullivan, President and CEO of the Arts Council of Fairfax County
The Greater Reston Arts Center is dedicated to enriching community life by promoting involvement and excellence in the contemporary visual arts. Its gallery showcases exceptional emerging and established artists from the mid-Atlantic region and beyond; its GRACE Art program delivers art enrichment experiences in over 40 schools regionally, impacting over 20,000 students; and its annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival is among the top such events in the country. The Greater Reston Arts Center is always free and open to the public.
For more information please visit www.restonarts.org