October 18, 2013

MARK BRADFORD EXHIBITION AT WHITE CUBE BERMONDSEY





MARK BRADFORD: THROUGH DARKEST AMERICA BY TRUCK AND TANK
WHITE CUBE BERMONDSEY
16 October 2013 – 12 January 2014




MARK BRADFORD: THROUGH DARKEST AMERICA BY TRUCK AND TANK
WHITE CUBE BERMONDSEY
16 October 2013 – 12 January 2014
White Cube Bermondsey is pleased to present ‘Through Darkest America by Truck and Tank’, a major exhibition of new work by Mark Bradford and his second with the gallery. Using materials found in the urban environment, such as billboard sheets, posters and news print, Bradford’s expansive, multi-layered collaged paintings explore the dynamics of social abstraction, where image is fused with context.
The title of the exhibition is drawn from a chapter in the memoir of the former American president Dwight D Eisenhower in which he relates his experience as a member of the Transcontinental Motor Convoy of 1919. This encounter, coupled with his observations in Germany during the Second World War, led to the adoption of a nationwide highway system in the US in the 1950s. Applying the map of the interstate roads as a point of origin for a number of paintings in the exhibition, Bradford deftly combines abstract compositions with topographical points of reference that shift in and out of focus. The creation of the freeways, borne out of military exigency to deploy troops across the country, also arbitrarily ripped through communities, including Bradford’s own in south central Los Angeles. Similarly, ruptures, fractures, incisions and segregations echo throughout the work.
In paintings such as The Last Telegraph (2013), passages of dense and dark colour are cut and sanded to reveal intricate cartographic arteries momentarily suggesting the heat and energy of lava flows. The surface of Riding the Cut Vein (2013) is interrupted by an incandescent diagonal fissure, analogous to a natural phenomenon convulsing through a synthetic conurbation. Palimpsests of shimmering networks and tributaries ripple throughout Shoot the Coin (2013), while in Nodding Gunpowder (2013), monochromatic striations are woven in patterns surging back and forth.
Bradford’s masterful manipulation of materials and techniques, which confound and mesmerise in equal measure, belies the fact that the paintings are comprised entirely of paper rather than paint. Gestural marks glide across compositions such as Journal Entry (2013)—based on episodes from Eisenhower’s diary - suggesting intuitive expression rather than controlled labour, while in works such as ‘Biting the Book’ décollaged sections appear swept aside in spontaneous action.
In 9x9x9, Bradford has created a site-specific installation Receive Calls from Your Cell Phone in Jail (2013). Based on a merchant poster found in his neighbourhood, this work focuses on an aspect of the economic and racial demographics of his locale, where social crisis is transformed into commercial opportunity and exploitation. Comprising one hundred and fifty canvases, installed in horizontal and vertical rows from floor to ceiling, each panel bears trace elements of the primary message. Positioning the viewer at the centre of the piece, a panoptic survey of the individual panels conveys an impression of solitary cells within a maximum security prison.
‘Through Darkest America by Truck and Tank’ is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication, featuring a conversation between the artist and Susan May, and a text by Christopher Bedford. 





THE LAST TELEGRAPH 2013
PHOTO BY BEN WESTOBY




THE LAST TELEGRAPH 2013 DETAIL




PHOTO BY BEN WESTOBY




FROM VIDEO - CAMERA BY JON LOWE © 2013WHITE CUBE 




DUSTY KNEES 2013 DETAIL




DUSTY KNEES 2013




DUSTY KNEES 2013 DETAIL




PHOTO BY BEN WESTOBY






CLOWNS TRAVEL THROUGH WIRES 2013




CLOWNS TRAVEL THROUGH WIRES 2013 DETAIL




PHOTO BY BEN WESTOBY






JOURNAL ENTRY 1-4 2013




JOURNAL ENTRY 1-4 2013




JOURNAL ENTRY 1-4 2013 DETAIL




FROM VIDEO - CAMERA BY JON LOWE © 2013WHITE CUBE 




PHOTO BY BEN WESTOBY




THROUGH DARKEST AMERICA BY TRUCK AND TANK 2013




FROM VIDEO - CAMERA BY JON LOWE © 2013WHITE CUBE 






FROM VIDEO - CAMERA BY JON LOWE © 2013WHITE CUBE 




THROUGH DARKEST AMERICA BY TRUCK AND TANK 2013






CONSTITUTION I – IV 2013




FROM VIDEO - CAMERA BY JON LOWE © 2013WHITE CUBE 




CONSTITUTION I – 2013




CONSTITUTION I – 2013 DETAIL




CONSTITUTION II – 2013




CONSTITUTION II – 2013 DETAIL




CONSTITUTION III – 2013




CONSTITUTION III – 2013 DETAIL




CONSTITUTION IV – 2013




CONSTITUTION IV – 2013 DETAIL




PHOTO BY BEN WESTOBY




FROM VIDEO - CAMERA BY JON LOWE © 2013WHITE CUBE 




TASTELESS RIFLE 2013 DETAIL




TASTELESS RIFLE 2013




NODDING GUNPOWDER 2013




NODDING GUNPOWDER 2013 DETAIL




FROM VIDEO - CAMERA BY JON LOWE © 2013WHITE CUBE 






AMONG WIRES AND BLOOD 2013




AMONG WIRES AND BLOOD 2013 DETAIL




PHOTO BY BEN WESTOBY




RIDING THE CUT VEIN 2013 DETAIL




RIDING THE CUT VEIN 2013 DETAIL




RIDING THE CUT VEIN 2013




PHOTO BY BEN WESTOBY




MICHIGAN 2013 DETAIL




MICHIGAN 2013






SHOOT THE COIN 2013 DETAIL




SHOOT THE COIN 2013




SHOOT THE COIN 2013 DETAIL




PHOTO BY BEN WESTOBY






WOUNDED PIANO 2013




WOUNDED PIANO 2013 DETAIL




FROM VIDEO - CAMERA BY JON LOWE © 2013WHITE CUBE 




BITING THE BOOK 2013 DETAIL




BITING THE BOOK 2013








B
MARK BRADFORD
Known for his expansive multi-layered collaged paintings incorporating materials found in the urban environment, Mark Bradford’s work addresses spontaneous systems and networks that materialise within cities, such as alternative economic exchange, itinerant communities, and other socio-political pathways.
Visually complex and often cartographic in form, Bradford’s paintings incorporate elements of the everyday – from end papers used for perming hair (associated with his background in hairdressing) to remnants of billboard posters, polyester cord, caulking, bleaching agents and carbon paper. Using such materials gathered within the locale of his studio in South Central Los Angeles, Bradford's paintings are ostensibly abstract in a formal sense, but referential in content. At first glance, the work corresponds with that of ‘Affichiste’ artists such as Raymond Hains and Jacques Villeglé; yet Bradford is less concerned with a commentary on consumerism, than with the specific conditions that shape communities. This is most clearly identified in the works featuring what he terms as ‘merchant posters’ found in his immediate neighbourhood. Affixed to cyclone fencing, erected around buildings left derelict after the 1992 Los Angeles riots, these billposters advertise, in bold graphics, services targeted directly at local inhabitants. The topics – ranging from foreclosure and paternity testing to loan credit and pest control – coalesce to form a narrative of desolation and, as Bradford has observed, reveal 'the invisible underbelly of a community'. In ‘A Thousand Daddies’, for example, multiple billboards advertising child custody services provide the foundation, with the letters broadly outlined in cord, over which layers of other posters and paper are pasted before being sanded back in part. This process of décollage or accretion reveals glimpses of luminous colour from the notices buried within.
Bradford’s practice also encompasses video, prints and sculptural installations. For the 55th Carnegie International in 2008, he created an installation for the rooftop of the museum. In reference to the stranded victims of Hurricane Katrina, he spelled out the words ‘HELP US’ in white stones, which was only visible from an aerial viewpoint. Later that year, Bradford created ‘Mithra’, regarded as one of the most iconic works of the ‘Prospect: New Orleans’ biennial. A three-storey ‘ark’ made from stacked shipping containers positioned on a vacant plot in the Lower Ninth Ward, the sculpture’s immense surface was covered in battered poster boards and advertising found around the city in the wake of the disaster. As one commentator noted, it could be simultaneously read as ‘a monument to futility or a symbolic cry for salvation’.
Mark Bradford was born in 1961 in Los Angeles, where he lives and works. He has exhibited widely, including groups shows such as the 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011), Seoul Biennial (2010),  the Carnegie International (2008), São Paulo Biennial (2006), and Whitney Biennial (2006). Solo exhibitions include, Aspen Art Museum (2011),  ‘Maps and Manifests’ at Cincinnati Museum of Art (2008) and '‘Neither New Nor Correct’ at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2007). In 2009, Mark Bradford was the recipient of the MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius’ Award. In 2010, ‘You’re Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You), a large-scale survey of his work was presented at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, before travelling to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Dallas Museum of Art; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
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