Greater Reston Arts Center Presents Radcliffe Bailey: The Great Dismal Swamp

By Editorial Team on April 19, 2017

Sat, 22 April 2017 - Fri, 18 August 2017

Madagascar 1, 2016, mixed media including collage elements, paint, glass on panel. 60 x 60 x5 3/8 inches. Courtesy of GRACE.
Madagascar 1, 2016, mixed media including collage elements, paint, glass on panel. 60 x 60 x5 3/8 inches. Courtesy of GRACE.


Opening Reception: Saturday, April 22 from 5pm to 7pm


The Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) is pleased to present Radcliffe Bailey: The Great Dismal Swamp, on view from April 21 through August 18, 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 DC metro 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, exploring his personal ancestry as well as the history of slavery. At GRACE, Bailey will present a selection of mixed-media works mining historical themes, including the Underground Railroad and the legacy of slavery in Virginia’s Great Dismal Swamp, a federally-designated national wildlife refuge in Southeastern Virginia. The Swamp 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 body of work is underpinned in part by the artist’s own family history in Virginia, which was the home of both his father and grandfather. 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.”

GRACE’s Executive Director and Curator, Lily Siegel, adds, “We are thrilled to be presenting Bailey’s first monographic exhibition in the DC area. It is a perfect fit for the Greater Reston Arts Center as we continue to grow and present excellence in national and international contemporary art that has deep relevance for the region.”

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.


  • Artist’s Talk: Radcliffe Bailey
    April 20, 7:30pm, free and open to the public
    George Mason University, School of Art, Room 1007
  • Opening reception
    April 22, 5–7pm, free and open to the public
    Greater Reston Arts Center
  • Creative Responses
    April 27, 6–7pm: Boris Willis
    Final Thursday of the month, April–July, free and open to the public
    Creative professionals respond to the work on view in the gallery.
    Greater Reston Arts Center
  • Curator’s Talk: Holly McCullough
    May 6, 4pm, free and open to the public
    Greater Reston Arts Center

Gallery Hours:

  • Tuesday – Saturday: 11am to 5pm

The Greater Reston Arts Center is located at 12001 Market St., Suite 103, Reston, VA. For more information please visit