Radcliffe Bailey


Press Release

Radcliffe Bailey

Looking for Light, Traveling by Night.

September 17 - October 17, 2009
Opening reception: Thursday, September 17, 2009, 6-8 pm

Solomon Projects is pleased to present Looking for Light, Traveling by Night, Radcliffe Bailey's thought provoking exhibition featuring drawings and sculpture from the Toledo Museum of Art's Guest Artist Pavilion Project (G.A.P.P), and Windward Coast (2009), a variation on a site-specific floor installation presented in the 2008 exhibition NeoHooDoo: Art for the Forgotten Faith co-organized by The Menil Collection and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center. This exhibition, Bailey's third solo show at Solomon Projects, will be on view September 17 - October 17, 2009.

In Looking for Light, Traveling by Night, Bailey returns to his roots as a sculptor, experimenting with materials and processes to investigate themes of transition and triumph with specific references to the Underground Railroad and the transatlantic slave trade. Two complementary bodies of work are on view Windward Coast (2009) and the G.A.P.P. works (2007). Presented together, they create a visual and conceptual narrative linking the stories of Africans who jumped ship in order to escape captivity, with African Americans who fled northward at night toward freedom.

Covering the floor of the main gallery, Windward Coast (2009) is composed of thousands of wooden piano keys, assembled by Bailey to form the jagged surface of a turbulent ocean. Floating among wave-like forms is a single sculptural element, a plaster bust coated in black glitter. The simplicity and elegance of the assemblage makes a powerful statement with multiple reads.

A surprising group of objects produced in 2007 while Bailey was an artist in residence at the Toledo Museum of Art's Guest Artist Pavilion Project (G.A.P.P), fill the gallery's front space. An oversized steel and glass lantern depicts a ghostlike image of a Civil War soldier in its mirrored sides, and three large drawings of tobacco, a fishing vessel, and a railroad lantern, were created by burning paper with dripping molten glass and a branding implement. The experimental nature of the residency invites artists to explore the possibilities of art glass. Bailey used the opportunity to reexamine some of his earlier themes, in particular, the migration of African Americans from the South to northern destinations during the time of the Civil War. The G.A.P.P. objects have personal associations for the artist whose father was a railroad engineer and whose ancestors fled north with the Underground Railroad.

Radcliffe Bailey's work has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries in the United States and abroad. His sculpture, paintings, works on paper and prints may be seen in prestigious public and private collections notably the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL; Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., and the High Museum of Art. In October 2009, Bailey will be the subject of a major exhibition at the Afro-American Cultural Center in Charlotte, NC, and in 2011, Bailey will have a mid career exhibition.

Radcliffe Bailey lives and works in Atlanta, GA.

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