new-york

Radcliffe Bailey

Jack Shainman Gallery | West 20th Street

There is a polyphonic aspect to Radcliffe Bailey’s work that results at least in part from the role of music in his life. I felt this effect immediately on encountering his latest series of painted wood panels (each almost seven feet square), whose design and excess of information endow the visual with the spatial and environmental qualities of music. “What I do may not even be called art,” Bailey once remarked. “It may be called music.” The sheer exuberance of his patternswebbed tendrils of paint overlying patchworks of rectilinear shapes only furthers such an analogy. A certain structure pervades the jazz-riff–cum–Abstract Expressionist energy through which Bailey tries to reconcile, and harmonize, spontaneity and freedom with the restrictions of his geometric format.

Such counterbalancing has governed Bailey’s work for some time. He places an icon, usually an enlarged photograph, in the

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