I think that painting relates very neatly to inner travel and the exploration of inner worlds. With painting, I always get the impression that you’re sort of entering into a shared space. There’s everyone who’s painted in the past, and everyone who is painting in the present.
In his paintings, drawings, sculptures, and mixed-media works, Joe Bradley has produced a visual language that oscillates freely between personal and art historical references. Constantly reinventing himself, he cycles through some of the most iconic modes of abstraction, investigating Minimalist questions of color and form, tapping into the spontaneous gesture of Abstract Expressionism, and creating cryptic signs and symbols in ingenious, lively drawings.
Bradley earned his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1999 and had his first gallery show in New York in 2003. Just three years later he had his first solo exhibition at MoMA PS1, which included boldly painted monochromatic canvases arranged in geometric formations. These modular paintings investigate the ways that colors exist in relation to each other and to negative space, while subtly evoking architectural structures and human or robotic figures. In recent works Bradley paints fragments of unprimed canvas on the floor, collecting studio debris in swaths of color. Imbuing abstraction with a tactile immediacy, he applies the oil paint in thick layers to create captivating, tessellated compositions.
In his drawing practice Bradley uses such unorthodox materials as cardboard scraps, loose paper, and even sticky notes. While artistic precedents appear to be among his works’ influences and inspirations, they never settle into certainty. In many ways Bradley holds a mirror up to the art world itself, finding humor in the ever-shifting trends and traditions of recent art history. One aspect of his practice that remains constant is his emphasis on process: the intuitive motions of the artist’s hand, as well as the effects of material, memory, and environment. For his Schmagoo Paintings (2008), Bradley drew invented symbols and doodles with grease pencil on raw canvas, presenting lighthearted subject matter with a direct, gestural confidence. Though vaguely familiar—recalling children’s drawings, comic book sketches, cave paintings, and ideograms—the images are devoid of specific meaning, exploring the very implications of the creative act.
Gagosian Quarterly Winter 2018
The Winter 2018 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available. Our cover this issue comes from High Times, a new body of work by Richard Prince.
A Conversation with Joe Bradley
Joe Bradley talks with Carroll Dunham on the occasion of his first mid-career survey in the United States.
Lauren Mahony reflects on the themes and artworks presented in the artist’s mid-career survey at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
Joe Bradley: Eric’s Hair is available for online reading from August 12 through September 10 as part of the From the Library series. The catalogue was published for an exhibition at Gagosian, Beverly Hills, in 2017 and features new paintings and sculpture by Joe Bradley. Weaving together both ironic and earnest cultural references and engagements with the tradition and aesthetics of paint on canvas, Bradley’s maverick oeuvre is built on a diverse and deadpan visual language that defies easy categorization. In these works, Bradley tempers the use of color in bold primary swaths with approaches to form and surface that remain resolutely contingent. The publication includes a text by Laura Hoptman.
Joe Bradley: Eric’s Hair (Beverly Hills: Gagosian, 2019)
Thursday, March 5, 2020, 6:30pm
Gagosian, Britannia Street, London
Join Gagosian for a tour of the group exhibition American Pastoral. The show juxtaposes modern and contemporary works with historical American landscapes ranging from Albert Bierstadt’s depiction of the sublime in Sunset over the River (1877) to Edward Hopper’s tranquil seaside scene, Gloucester Harbor (1926). Gagosian’s Alice Godwin will focus on a select grouping of exhibited works that seek to challenge the idealized vision of the American Dream that has long been a rich topic of inquiry for artists in the United States. To attend the free event, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited.
Installation view, American Pastoral, Gagosian, Britannia Street, London, January 23–March 14, 2020. Artwork, left to right: © Theaster Gates, © Adam McEwen, Thomas Moran, © Richard Prince, © Banks Violette, © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Lucy Dawkins
Art Basel Miami Beach 2019
December 5–8, 2019, booth D7
Miami Beach Convention Center
Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel Miami Beach 2019 with modern and contemporary artworks by Richard Avedon, Georg Baselitz, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Joe Bradley, Cecily Brown, John Chamberlain, John Currin, Edmund de Waal, Rachel Feinstein, Urs Fischer, Helen Frankenthaler, Ellen Gallagher, Theaster Gates, Katharina Grosse, Mark Grotjahn, Jennifer Guidi, Simon Hantaï, Damien Hirst, Alex Israel and Bret Easton Ellis, Ellsworth Kelly, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Peter Marino, Adam McEwen, Joan Mitchell, Takashi Murakami, Albert Oehlen, Steven Parrino, Pablo Picasso, Rudolf Polanszky, Richard Prince, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Rudolf Stingel, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Mary Weatherford, Tom Wesselmann, Jonas Wood, Christopher Wool, and Zao Wou-Ki, among others.
Tom Wesselmann, Sunset Nude with Wesselmann Still Life, 2004 © The Estate of Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by ARS/VAGA, New York
Joe Bradley, Oscar Tuazon, Michael Williams
May 14–September 18, 2018
Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich, Connecticut
The Brant Foundation’s spring exhibition will feature work by Joe Bradley, Oscar Tuazon, and Michael Williams.
Joe Bradley, JJ Ram, 2018 © Joe Bradley
October 15, 2017–January 28, 2018
Rose Art Museum, Waltham, Massachusetts
This is the first large-scale museum exhibition in North America devoted to the work of Joe Bradley. Included are his expressionistic canvases that record the detritus and spontaneity of the studio environment; subtly figurative send-ups of Minimalist painting; starkly primitive glyphs drawn in grease pencil on unprimed canvas and related drawings on paper; graphic silkscreen paintings; and modular Minimalist aluminum sculptures that Bradley pairs with textual directives. The exhibition traveled from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York.
Joe Bradley, Bishop, 2016
May 14–October 1, 2017
Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich, Connecticut
Animal Farm is a group exhibition curated by artist and musician Sadie Laska. A selection of works sketch a story that slides from figurative iconography to totemic abstraction, charting a world in churn; in print, in space, and on canvas. The show includes work by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Joe Bradley.
Joe Bradley, Pigpen (#2), 2010
June 24–October 1, 2017
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
This is the first large-scale museum exhibition in North America devoted to the work of Joe Bradley. Included are his expressionistic canvases that record the detritus and spontaneity of the studio environment; subtly figurative send-ups of Minimalist painting; starkly primitive glyphs drawn in grease pencil on unprimed canvas and related drawings on paper; graphic silkscreen paintings; and modular Minimalist aluminum sculptures that Bradley pairs with textual directives.
Joe Bradley, Good World, 2017