Mark Bradford: Sea Monsters

Mark Bradford, Sea Pig

mark Bradford, From seA PIG, 2014 (detail). mixed media COLLAGE. IMAGE BY JOSHUA WHITE; courtesy of the artist.

Mark Bradford: Sea Monsters presents new paintings and sculptures by Mark Bradford (b. 1961). This just-completed body of work draws upon the example of Medieval and Renaissance maps: specifically, the tendency of cartographic illustrators to use fantastical creatures to mark uncharted waters, tempting explorers to reach further into the unknown. Bradford’s abstractions do not strive for cartographic precision, but rather evoke the socioeconomic conditions of communities under siege and in a near constant state of emergency and reinvention. The seascape of paintings, inflated and failed buoys, and the monumental text-based mural that together comprise Sea Monsters were all executed in the last six months. All are made of worldly matter, yet exert an otherworldly effect, pointing at once to that which we know and everything about our world that remains a mystery. By moving back and forth between mapping social conditions in flux and refining his formal approach to painting, Bradford has derived a new language of abstraction that is as much a hermetic studio discipline as it is of and about the world we share, a language best described as social abstraction.