The Greater Reston Arts Center is proud to present Radcliffe Bailey: The Great Dismal Swamp, from April 21–August 18, 2017. Radcliffe Bailey 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, although he has previously participated in group exhibitions at the Smithsonian, the Corcoran, and the David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland.

Bailey produces a wide range of mixed-media works including two-dimensional collaged paintings, sculptures, and installations. His work is often made from found materials and personal objects from his past, including traditional African sculpture, tintypes of his family members, piano keys, and symbolic items including keys and pouches. For his exhibition at the Greater Reston Arts Center, Bailey will address his family’s history in Virginia, and the history of the Underground Railroad in the state’s Great Dismal Swamp. Bailey’s work in 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, Illinois; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; the Denver Art Museum, Colorado; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia among many others.

Press release
Exhibition catalogue


Radcliffe Bailey: The Great Dismal Swamp is funded in part by the Arts Council of Fairfax County, Reston Community Center, and Reston Town Center Association.

Opening reception

April 22, 5–7pm, free and open to the public
Greater Reston Arts Center

Artist’s Talk: Radcliffe Bailey

April 20, 7:30pm, free and open to the public
George Mason University, School of Art, Room 1007
Parking map and parking info

Curator’s Talk: Holly McCullough

May 6, 4pm, free and open to the public
Greater Reston Arts Center

Creative Responses

Join us on the last Thursday of each month to hear a creative professional respond to the work on view in the gallery. The short presentation will be followed by open conversation. Presenters may include poets, dancers, writers, musicians, visual artists, and more! Free and open to the public.

Creative Responses is generously supported by Reston Community Center.

DANCE: April 27, 6–7pm: Boris Willis
Boris Willis holds an MFA in dance and technology from Ohio State University. His MFA thesis focused on the interaction between computer games/gaming, storytelling, video, animation, and human movement. Willis is the Chief Artistic Officer of Boris Willis Moves, through which he designs games for live and web-based performances.

VISUAL ART: May 25, 6–7pm: Michael A. Booker
Michael Booker is an American painter who holds an MFA in Studio Art from the University of Maryland. His paintings, often cut apart and reconstructed into quilt-like narratives, combine his personal history and memory with the history of painting and African American culture. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at Montgomery College in Takoma Park, MD.

POETRY: June 29, 6–7pm: E. Ethelbert Miller
E. Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. He is the board chair of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a progressive think tank located in Washington, D.C. For ten years he has been the editor of Poet Lore, the oldest poetry magazine published in the United States. Miller is the author of several collections of poetry, and has written two memoirs. He is often heard on NPR, is host and producer of The Scholars on UDC-TV, and writes a regular monthly column, E on DC for Capital Community News. On April 19, 2015, Miller was inducted into the Washington, D.C. Hall of Fame.
Video part 1
Video part 2
Video part 3

JAZZ HISTORY: July 27, 6–7pm: Michael J. West
Michael J. West is a jazz journalist in Washington, D.C. and a contributor to Washington City Paper, JazzTimes, Down Beat, NPR, Slate, and the Washington Post. He is a board member of the Jazz Journalists Association.
See video here

Greater Reston Arts Center programs are supported in part by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Arts Council of Fairfax County, the Reston Community Center, Allegra Print & Imaging, Axar Hotels, and OR Consulting.

All images courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.