Aspen Art Museum

AAM - Aspen Art Museum I 590 North Mill Street
Colorado 81611 Aspen

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artists & participants

press release

Mark Bradford is best known for his large-scale non-representational paintings that address the grid, but by continually more abstract means. His process is one of addition as well as removal—layering paint, twine, and glue, and then repeatedly sanding down the surfaces. His palette reflects the use of pre-existing printed materials and, as such, black and white figure prominently.

Bradford’s paintings succeed in their ability to overwhelm the viewer visually. The remnants buried below the surface evoke objects hidden for use at a later date, as well as the bulges and bruises resulting from past physical injury. The paintings reward distant viewing as well as close inspection, and while attempts to track a linear narrative along or across the surface are thwarted, the minute discoveries one is able to make more than satisfy one’s visual, emotional, and psychological curiosity.

Bradford’s Aspen Art Museum exhibition focuses on his works on paper, something not previously considered in isolation. These “Merchant Posters” are largely created from community-oriented billboards, advertising posters, and signs he removes from chain link fences erected in his Leimert Park, Los Angeles neighborhood. Shadows—or memories—of their former utilitarian purposes remain: “Freedom Without Love,” “Promise Land Sober Living,” “Stop Evictions.” The seduction of, and subsequent yearning for, these objects is palpable. The urges and desires originally communicated subtly highlight that art—and Bradford’s works on paper in particular—fill similarly essential, albeit highly different, needs.

Mark Bradford, was recently named a recipient of a 2009 MacArthur Fellowship, an award given to: “individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.” The fellowship is meant to help facilitate the recipient’s subsequent creative work. Bradford’s past awards include the Bucksbaum Award (2006), the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2003), and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2002).

On the occasion of Bradford’s AAM exhibition, a fully-illustrated catalogue will be co-published by Aspen Art Press and Gregory R. Miller & Co., featuring essays by AAM Director and Chief Curator Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, Los Angeles based artist and writer Malik Gaines, Los Angeles-based cultural critic Ernest Hardy, and Dia Art Foundation Director Philippe Vergne.

Mark Bradford was born in 1961 in Los Angeles. His solo exhibitions include: ArtPace, San Antonio TX, (2008); Neither New Nor Correct: New Work by Mark Bradford, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, (2007); Mark Bradford, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC (2006-2007); and Mark Bradford: Niagra, LA>

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Mark Bradford
Kurator: Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson