(Bridgeton, New Jersey, 1968 - )
Lives Atlanta, Georgia
A deep social and historical consciousness grounded in family and community informs Bailey’s art. Bailey’s diverse body of work has been described as “an exploration of Black Atlantic culture, the vital, nurturing, agitated link between Africa and the Americas.” He earned a BFA in 1991 from the Atlanta College of Art. Bailey’s work is focused on the merging of world history and familial memory through mixed-media paintings and installations. Tintypes of family members, images of African figurines, disassembled piano keys and Georgia red clay all feature prominently in works that tell stories about the black Atlantic diaspora. While focusing on southern African-American history, Bailey’s work also stands for more universal and spiritual migrations.
Bailey uses the music of Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk as inspiration for fusing pain with transcendence, “An ocean is something that divides people. Music is something that connects people…it’s a different sound that takes you somewhere else. It’s also about being at peace.” Jacob Lawrence, another prominent African-American artist, is credited with inspiring Bailey’s early interest in visual storytelling.
Bailey’s work is included in major museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Art; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Art Institute of Chicago; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Bailey has received the Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts from the Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Art Fund and the Gibbes Museum of Art Factor Prize.