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Mark Bradford
Gregory Montreuil



Mark Bradford’s recent efforts are characterized by tactile, distressed surfaces inhabiting large canvases, smaller mixed media collages and one 3-D sculpture. Having mined the streets near his Los Angeles studio for billboards and posters, groupings of words taken from lowbrow advertisements punctuate the bulk of his non-representational pieces. Submerged in the murky background of Untitled (2009) are the words “Females Fancying Financial Freedom,” followed by a phone number. The words could be an anthem but here they feel like word play. The bulk of Bradford’s pieces here have a neutral palette, with a few touches of color — Red Painting (2009) uses string to create networks that traverse the canvas — and are covered with paper and sanded. A snippet of fishnet stocking, torn from a magazine, is applied and echoes this network. One room contains a series of textured mostly black-and-white collages. Many works incorporate lines of thin cord covered with paper.


MARK BRADFORD, Taking Up The Cross, 2009. Mixed media collage on canvas, 258.4 x 364.5 cm. Courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York.


All made in 2009, the works have transcendental titles: Taking up the Cross, The Vault

of Heaven, and Crossing the Threshold, which sound lofty but do little to add clarity to the grouping. Stax (2009), a large sculpture made of a dozens of soccer balls collaged with the signature cord and paper and held against the wall in nets, is slightly comical and almost bodily in its presence; however, the covered spheres are predictable and the delineated volume does little to surprise.


MARK BRADFORD, Red Painting, 2009. Mixed media collage on canvas, 258.4 x 364.5 cm. Courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York.


These works have many precedents — from the early work of Warhol (using advertising)

to the collage work of Mimmo Rotella — but create little new ground. The technique appears ubiquitous; the idea of found detritus is full of potential but this exhibition never

seems to get past the surface.


Flash Art 269  NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2009

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