Gallery Mark Bradford

    • Sexy Cash Wall, 2015, mixed media on canvas

      The wall text of Mark Bradford’s exhibition at Gemeente Museum The Hague shows that one thing leads to another. The text is derived from an article in ‘Art in America’ in which the Los Angeles based artist provides insight into his train of thought on how the show came about.

    • Sexy Cash Wall, 2015, mixed media on canvas

      The point of departure is a merchant poster on a telephone pole in South Central LA reading: “Sexy Cash. We buy ugly or old houses fast”. This ad for quick, high-interest loans tries to seduce people who struggle to keep their head above the water and are likely to fall into a debt spiral. It resulted in a 23 metres oblong work consisting of 100 merchant posters treated with a power sander.

    • A Siren Beside a Ship, 2014, mixed media on canvas

      The sexy cash posters made Bradford think about the conquistadors who were trading goods with native inhabitants. This exploitation for economic gain still occurs in the twenty-first century – nothing has changed. It made him think of the old maritime trade routes that facilitated colonisation.

    • The Winged Turtle, 2014, mixed media on canvas

      The paintings in the show are inspired by navigational maps of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Their titles make reference to the nautical world or sea animals.

    • Sea Pigs, 2014, mixed media

      The series of sculptures are also maritime inspired. The old sea maps featured illustrations of menacing sea monsters, sometimes drawn three times bigger than the ships. Bradford titled the inflatable fenders in the show which are used to protect the watertight body of a ship, ‘Sea Pigs’. Their shapes are reminiscent of large speed bags or amphora pots with crackles.

    • No Time to Expand the Sea, 2014, mixed media on canvas

      For his abstract paintings and sculptures Bradford uses a distinct technique. The surfaces of stretched canvases are build up with several layers of papers and each layer is fixed with a coat of clear shellac. He treats the layered surfaces with a power sander exposing and revealing layers underneath.

    • No Time to Expand the Sea, 2014, mixed media on canvas

    • Untitled, 2015, mixed media on canvas

      It creates wonderful effects in terms of subtle colour gradients, intricate layers and happy accidents such as folds or paper been torn away. As the size of the canvases are immense the viewer can lose himself in the works. You can wander your eyes over the surface and discover whirlpool formations or follow the meridians formed by grooves in the paper.

    • Untitled, 2015, mixed media on canvas, (detail)

      Just like Jackson Pollock in his drip paintings or Gerhard Richter in his abstract canvases produced with a squeegee, Bradford employs methods of chance in his work. By using the power sander Bradford has to relinquish a certain amount of control. It will lead him into unknown territory and his work demonstrates that most of the beautiful things in art occur when you let them happen.

    • The Tongue in the Middle of Port, 2014, mixed media on canvas

    • The Tongue in the Middle of Port, 2014, mixed media on canvas, (detail)

      Mark Bradford, Gemeentemuseum The Hague, until 18th of October 2015