Joe Bradley Untitled 2012

“I look at the work you’ve been making over the past few years and it’s clear to me that this is a person who really embraces the history of modernist painting. These are not, in any way, subversive of that history; instead, they kind of continue it. One can connect them with early historical modernist painting, and aspects of New York School paintings in the ’50s, but there’s a physicality, as I said earlier, a scruffiness, a kind of attitude present in your paintings that doesn’t feel like anything else one has really seen within that mode of working. They’re not in any obvious debt to anything, and they seem to be things that you have to find each time. They look like Joe Bradley paintings, and you couldn’t have really known until you started what that would be.” Carroll Dunham in conversation with Joe Bradley, June 24, 2017.

Reboot is the term that Corporate Hollywood uses to describe the re-marketing of a movie franchise. Whole new industries pop up, social media freaks out and if the “creatives” are clever enough they create a cultural watershed from a common mythology. In this way Comic Con Conceptualism takes hold of the collective imagination. Joe Bradley has learned this lesson and applies it to our Mannerist era. He uses the faded and antiqued Modern Era and its common mythology to court debate about the relevance of painting – in other words his work is click bait for Modern Art Geeks.  

“I’ve always been preoccupied with the sculptural quality of painting, or rather, the fact that the painting is also an object. We tend to ignore the fact that a painting is a physical, three-dimensional thing, and to treat it more as a window, or a portal. Paintings have that power and that quality, they can function like that – but they’re also these rickety things that have a backstage area we’re not privy too. I have this idea that there’s something suspicious about painting – I think that’s part of it. A sculpture isn’t pretending to be anything other than a sculpture – a painting asks you to suspend disbelief, there’s an expectation of an illusion that you’re being treated to. I guess I like to drive home the fact that it’s a thing, made out of cloth and paint.” Joe Bradley in conversation with Samuel Reilly, October 25, 2018.

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