Monday, 28 October 2013

Mark Bradford: Through Darkest America by Truck and Tank

Again as with Kehinde Wiley, and Hurvin Anderson, the artwork of African-American Mark Bradford was discovered fairly recently, and naturally struck a chord with me as he uses similar materials and processes that I use, but with markedly different results. I made a point of going to see his show at White Cube, Bermondsey, and was impressed with both the design of the White Cube Bermondsey gallery, and Bradford's work. 

The gallery rooms are huge and easily able to accommodate vast scaled work such as that by Bradford, and are also airy and very well lit without spoiling the artworks with the reflected glare of harsh lighting. I also loved the shiny, polished concrete floors. 

The work on display appears to be mainly about mapping and grids - Bradford's attempt to relate to Dwight Eisenhowers' interstate highway system, and the disruption that ensued to the various communities in the way when the road building work was implemented. 

What struck me immediately is the surface textures of the works, as they are densely layered and cut into, and sanded to reveal the underlying layers of collaged materials. There is a lot of 'movement' and rhythm in the work because of the Bradford's mark-making on the torn and cut layers. The typography in the works reminded me of ancient texts and hieroglyphs because of the surface treatments that Bradford has applied to them. The materials for his collages are posters and found materials, and in this respect his work reminds of  that of the work of Rotella, and Villegle, but Bradford's are more oblique and executed on a much vaster scale. It was really good to see the work first hand and experience the textural surfaces. Inspirational collage-paintings.

Mark Bradford
Through Darkest America by Truck and Tank
White Cube, Bermondsey
16th October - 22 December 2013