Katherine Bradford, Ship in Blue Harbor, 2011–12 (courtesy of the artist)
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."
Jason Stopa interviews painter Katherine Bradford on the occasion of her upcoming exhibition of recent work at Edward Thorp Gallery, New York, on view from April 19 – May 26, 2012.
Bradford notes that "This may be a good time to be doing paintings that appear human or have a humanity that maybe a decade ago wasn't considered very interesting. Interesting - no. It wasn't considered modern enough, wasn't considered groundbreaking enough."
Cohen writes that in Bradford's work "there is the peculiar poetic charm of provisional painting – a sense of blah, of nonchalance, of not quite caring about the slapdash, scruffy, Brooklyn-esque 'work in progress' look. But, on the other hand, there is also the energy, seriousness, and resolve of classic abstract painting. The happy marriage of naïveté and abstraction can feel at times as if a Chagall, Janice Biala or Aristodimos Kaldis has been pressed through a de Kooning sieve. Actually, forget that messy analogy: just recall that Wassily Kandinsky made naïve woodcuts before he invented abstraction. Or else bring to mind the reverse, high-abstraction-to-low-realism trajectory of Philip Guston."
Gallup writes: "The lush surfaces reveal under-painting and a sense that she is searching for her subjects, allowing them to reveal themselves slowly through the painting process and within their own invented time. The layering becomes part of the narrative and gives the work depth and spontaneity. I admire how Bradford is able to balance abstract elements with figurative images, both sharing equal time, neither losing their distinctive differences while adding a fluid interrelatedness."
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.