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Bailey, Radcliffe, (Tobacco Blues)


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"Tobacco Blues" by Radcliffe Bailey

Paper Size: 50 x 40 inches, Framed Size: 53 x 42.5 inches   

9/30 signed/numbered limited edition color spitbite & sugarlift aquatint with softground, drypoint, photogravure & chine-colle on somerset soft white paper; yr. 2000 

Radcliffe Bailey SBO head shotRadcliffe 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 describes 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.  


"Tobacco Blues" references vintage landscape photography rather than familiar family portraits that have appeared in previous paintings and works on paper by Bailey. The photograph depicts tobacco plants from a farm that his grandfather owned in Virginia.  Bailey also includes hard ground renderings and drawings of houses and cabins that reference his interest in the history of African-American architecture before and after the Civil War.  Much of the text that appears in this print comes directly from contemporary African-American poetry.  The print contains up to 13 plates, which is printed in a diptych format on a single piece of rag printing paper.  The Vibrancy of colors and layers of imagery are built up from a variety of etching techniques, including chine colle, photogravure and drypoint. 








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