10 April–1 May 2010
Selected works: paintings and dipped objects
Shane Bradford has established a reputation for both painting and for ‘dipped’ objects that span painting and sculpture. His two practices run in tandem: this exhibition features works from his most recent series of ‘poster’ paintings, together with selected works spanning the past three years.Bradford says that ‘if taken chronologically the poster paintings enact a personal take on the arguments surrounding the past one hundred years of modernist thinking. From dogmatic manifesto-style statements, through the breakdown of aesthetics, to post-medium conceptualist approaches to 21st- century art making, each poster campaigns for its own agenda… Viewed collectively, the individual voice of each picture is increasingly drowned out by the collective hubbub.’‘The quick fire production techniques employed to make these print-like paintings on paper deliberately allude to the impossibility of maintaining a fixed position in the contemporary climate. The paintings negotiate the post-modern paradox by subverting themselves while simultaneously managing to state a concise position.’ The works mean what they say but there is also an awareness ‘that their meaning will be swept away in the fast moving present-future.’ These works are displayed side by side ‘like billstickers whose information remains relevant only temporarily.’
Bradford’s work is often generated in response to western urban culture: advertising, signage, the graphic image, the Media, and the structures that these entities impose upon modern life. He says that ‘through painting, the modern bombardment of graphic imagery is assimilated, manipulated, upgraded… Societal structures such as advertising are cuckolded and replaced with self-initiated structures that then form a physical and emotional template for my work.’
Both Bradford’s dipped work and his painted posters ‘share an instinct to engage with personal and political history. Paint’s literal usage as a means to covering up is employed to pinpoint art historical milestones, whilst simultaneously wiping away historical reference. In doing so, the conditions are created in which the possibility of newness may begin to be tested.’
Books and 3D objects subjected to Bradford’s ‘dipping’ process are methodically submerged into multi-coloured emulsions of gloss paint in a process of precise sequences, resulting in graphic compositions with solid drips of thick paint collecting along the lower edge. A metamorphosis takes place as the ‘surface signifiers’ of the objects are replaced or concealed by colour and the seductive use of paint. Michelle Davis has described how ‘the beauty of Bradford’s stalactite formations recreates one of the simplest processes found in nature and reprocesses this technique in… a perfect marriage of process and concept.’ He is interested in exploring the associations that evolve from his ‘dipping’ process – books change function as they are sealed by his process, the contents are partially preserved yet unreadable; while the graphic layers often reference the content that lies beneath in the dialogue he creates between process and subject matter.
Born in 1971, Shane Bradford studied in Brighton and at the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. He has exhibited widely in Britain, Europe and the USA and was awarded The Celeste Art Prize in 2007.