Yau writes: "These are Bradford’s “Deluge” paintings — that’s what I mean by breakthrough. She has done something unforeseen — the envisioning of an all-consuming catastrophe of biblical proportions. She is not only updating Guston’s own take on a subject that stretches as far back as Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings of cataclysmic storms, done in the last decade of his life, but she is also gaining parity with him, endowing these new works with a particular gravitas that wasn’t always apparent in the earlier work. Bradford has transformed the whimsical into the catastrophic, its polar opposite, without losing her offhand humor."
Garland writes that: "Each painting from the beginning of the show to the end is thoroughly felt in three dimensions, offering detail from all views with front and center being the ultimate read. This gives the work a performative feel with shelf as stage and objects as actors. The best seats may be front and center, but there are also interesting and complex views from stage left, and the orchestra pit. Even as we are the viewers, however, the paintings with their frontal protrusions seem to be viewing, and reflecting upon themselves... The most fantastic thing about the shelves, and accretions of objects in each piece, is how integrated they are with the paint. Just as one might choose a punchy red or an upward brush stroke, the collected objects and their placement in these paintings are equally important. "
In a new video by Carol Saft, painter Katherine Bradford discusses her recent "shelf" paintings on view at Arts+Leisure, New York from November 15 - December 14, 2014. Bradford remarks that the shelf element developed out of an interest in developing the "sense of weight and gravity" in her work.
The gallery materials note that "as is always the case with [Bradford's] work, the real subject is invariably paint itself, in all its multi-hued, crusty, clunky, gooey, crumbly, smeared and expressed glory. Her shelf paintings reference the horizons and brute forms of Philip Guston as much as the armature and palette of Howard Hodgkin, and the distortion and nautical humor of Malcolm Morley; her palette blows hot and cool but her signature playful line and irreverent charm shine through consistently in every piece."
Etty Yaniv blogs about the recent exhibition Mixtape! at No. 4 Studio (co-curated by Sophia Alexandrov and Todd Bienvenu) that took place during Bushwick Open Studios. The show featured works by Joe Anthony-Brown, Todd Bienvenu, Katherine Bradford, Lauren Collings, Joy Curtis, Dan Flanagan, Emily Noelle Lambert, Margrit Lewczuk, Gili Levy, Meg Lipke, Lauren Luloff, Sangram Majumdar, Jason Mones, Alexander Nolan, Mark Petersen, Matt Phillips, Kyle Staver, and Dwain Thomas Walters II.
Etty Yaniv reviews the exhibition Outside In at Life On Mars Gallery, Bushwick, Brooklyn, on view through March 1, 2014. The show features works by Katherine Bradford, Farrell Brickhouse, James Castle, Thornton Dial, Chris Martin, Joan Snyder, and Fred Valentine.
Yaniv writes: "Viewing these radically different artists side by side brought to life the question, What does inside or outside mean, not only in context of the art market but also in terms of gender, race, and art history at large? ... No matter how disparate the life circumstances of each of the artists in this eclectic group are, the relationship between their individual artworks forms a cohesive and energetic visual and thematic flow. Without paying much attention to art norms or market trends, these veteran artists share a long-term compulsion to visually express their personal and political truths with deep conviction, persistent exploration of daily material, and a search for individual vocabularies."
Yaniv writes that "the three painters featured in the current show share a deep love of color, gesture, and an expressionistic gusto, resulting in unabashedly painterly canvases and works on paper... [Bienvenu] conveys the angst and bliss of our cyber-age, one in which the ideas of privacy, exposure, and pornography are increasingly blurred... Levy’s paintings escape a clear definition of subject matter or mood, so they remain oddly enigmatic yet deeply personal. She manages to translate such tensions into a cohesive painterly form without concealing how this form came to be, leaving on the surface traces of the match... each of Katherine Bradford’s small-scale canvases embraces a full universe. Mostly comprised of abstracted boats or occasional figures, Bradford’s canvases are both lush and reductive. Executed with brilliant color sensibility and grouped in a row, they activate the narrow corridor at Valentine with their luminous presence."
Etty Yaniv reviews the exhibition Painting Impossible at Life on Mars, Bushwick. The show features works by Todd Bienvenu, Katherine Bradford, Jim Herbert, Arnold Mesches, and Karen Schwartz.
Yaniv writes "Despite the wide diversity in their work, all five artists integrate figure and gesture with abstraction to generate a charged narrative, draw on the way they experience life, and, most importantly, share a fearless approach to process and material. While their work can include irony or humor, [gallery owner Michael] David emphasizes that 'there is absolutely nothing ironic or casual about their immersion in the act of painting.' "
William Eckhardt Kohler reviews the exhibition Katherine Bradford: Small Ships at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, New York, on view through October 13, 2013.
Kohler writes: "Bradford's willingness to move freely between painting genres and schools leads to a sense that she is essentially being profoundly herself and that she has forged these parts into her own visual language, something quite rare and difficult to pull off. One of the most distinctive qualities of this language is the tenderness implied by both the subject and the handling of her material. It doesn't seem like too much of a stretch to imagine the ship as a stand in for the artist's own journey, for the inevitable failures, struggles and destructions of the creative process, and also of the human capacity to push forward finding humor in life."
John Yau reviews the exhibition Katherine Bradford: August at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine, on view through September 1, 2013.
Yau writes: "Bradford has taken the unlikely genre of marine painting and transformed it into a densely packed, metaphorical realm that is simultaneously abstract and representational — which should clue the viewer in that one of the artist’s themes is a belief in choice. By refusing to fall into the either/or conundrum and instead openly embracing both possibilities, Bradford defers conclusion in favor of exploration... Like sailing ships — a subject the artist has painted, none of which are included in August — paintings are made of wood and canvas. And like a ship, a painting carries its contents (or meaning) into the future. The difference is that ships have destinations, while paintings float somewhere on the continuum of past, present and future, always vulnerable. They are at the mercy of time – a consequence they can (but don’t always) acknowledge."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.