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Jackie Bailey Labovitz. American Artist, born 1951

Artist and photographer Jackie Bailey Labovitz brings her in-depth art history background and her camera to capture the perfect light on small creatures and rare wild flowers without flash. The resulting images are tender, delicate and sublime.

Jackie Bailey Labovitz
Jackie Bailey Labovitz, Artist, Pink Lady's Slipper, artline
Jackie Bailey Labovitz
Pink Lady's Slipper, Cypripedium acaule
photograph on canvas
30 x 37 1/2"
Jackie Bailey Labovitz, Artist, Rue-Anemone, artline
Jackie Bailey Labovitz
Rue Anemone, Thalictrum thalictroides
photograph on canvas
30 x 37 1/2"
Jackie Bailey Labovitz, Artist, Downy Yellow Violet, artline
Jackie Bailey Labovitz
Downy Yellow Violet
Jackie Bailey Labovitz, Artist, Turk's-Cap Lily, artline
Jackie Bailey Labovitz
Turk's-Cap Lily, Lilium superbum
photograph on canvas
30 x 37 1/2"
Jackie Bailey Labovitz, Artist, Dwarf Iris, artline
Jackie Bailey Labovitz
Dwarf Iris, Iris verna
photograph on canvas
40 x 32"

Artist Statement

As a mature man Matisse found scissors. As a mature woman I found a camera.

Two things I did not grow up with: books and art. Two things I did grow up with: a dictionary and hand-me-down copies of Reader's Digest.

The dictionary included a color plate of butterflies. Infatuated with the plate, I began to collect butterflies in Mason jars. Examining every detail, I meticulously mounted them in discarded cigar boxes.

Flipping through old Reader's Digests I came upon a picture of a beautifully dressed girl bathed in light, quietly reading a book. I dreamed of being that girl. I carefully tore out the page. Again and again I went back to admire Fragonard's subject, but more importantly I never forgot the light.

First out of bed, before sunrise, I absorbed the rural Virginia light as it slowly, religiously crept over the line where the trees meet the sky. Within seconds it seemed the light went from soft to blaring. Each morning I patiently waited for and treasured those few fleeting seconds of light.

At age fifty I returned to the joys of childhood. In the interim I had spent more than half of those fifty years in museums, art galleries, and artists studios and accumulated lots of books. I had seen first hand the light portrayed by Vermeer, Goya, and Renoir and the light captured by Mapplethorpe on thirteen flowers in the "Y Portfolio" and by Ansel Adams in "Moonrise Over Hernandez."

This time starting before sunrise in early spring I began my search not for butterflies but for tiny plants in my ritualistic ambles through the woodlands of my beloved Virginia. The mason jar was replaced with my sole companion, a camera.

My winter months previously spent as a child identifying and pinning my specimens was replaced with mentally arranging or as Ansel would say "pre-visualizing" how I would preserve what these plants looked like bathed in the soft light of the understory through my eyes in the rectangle provided not by the cigar boxes but my newly discovered rectangular viewfinder.

Now well into my sixth decade I aspire to immortalize my life long love affair with light. Where would the world be without it?
- Jackie Bailey Labovitz




born 1951 Danville, VA

1977 Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, BFA

public collections
John Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute – Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, MD
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Henrico VA
Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester VA
National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC
Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Charlottesville, VA




Jackie Bailey Labovitz discusses the Understory

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