The SCAD Museum of Art presents "Pensive," an exhibition by internationally renowned, Atlanta, Georgia-based artist Radcliffe Bailey. A painter, sculptor and mixed media artist, Bailey layers imagery, culturally resonant materials and text to explore the themes of ancestry, race and memory. By translating his personal experiences into art, Bailey believes he can achieve an understanding of, and a healing from, universal history.
Central to the exhibition is a site-specific installation titled "Storm at Sea" in which the artist utilizes piano keys, an African sculpture and a glitter-covered ship to suggest motifs associated with the African American experience of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. An arrangement of piano keys on the museum floor creates a visual experience that references turbulent ocean waves, splintered boards of a wrecked ship and slaves who lost their lives during the trans-Atlantic journey.
Additionally, a cast bronze sculpture depicting African American civil rights activist and author W.E.B. Du Bois in the pose of Rodin’s "The Thinker" is situated among a selection of recent mixed media wall artworks focusing on the artist’s material lexicon, including wool military blankets, canvas tarps, Georgia red clay, vintage photographs, taxidermy, black paint and steel. The assemblage and connotations of these materials exhibit Bailey’s poetic, experimental approach and his thoughtful consideration of the intersection of his personal narratives within the larger collective history of the African diaspora.
Bailey’s work is currently presented in the inaugural installation of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. The artist’s work has been viewed in prominent public collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, among others.
Exhibition overview from museum website