Donald Bradford
Donald Bradford
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Recent Paintings

It has always been part of my process to have bulletin boards in my studio filled with art postcards, announcements, magazine and newspaper photos, as well as lists and notes to myself.

My most recent paintings (bulletin boards with close-ups) begin as random found images. If a particular thread unfolds I will play with various juxtapositions in an attempt to convey a certain theme.

For example: Fleeing The War in Iraq has a newspaper photo of a man sitting in front of a tent with a caption that reads: “Fleeing the war in Iraq to safety in Jordon.” On the same bulletin board is a painting of boxers by George Bellows, a Malevich cross, and a close-up of flowers, all images that could also allude to war.

Remember Emmett Till includes a newspaper photo of Emmett Till, a 14 year old black boy murdered in Mississippi in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman. The case was reopened in 2005 and the body of Emmett Till was exhumed in an effort to reach some measure of justice forty-nine years later. On the right side of the diptych is a large black and white painting of traffic markings (right turn only). This image comes from a series of Polaroids by Walker Evans taken in 1973. “ONLY” could read as a metaphor for exclusivity in our society ie: males only, whites only,  rich only, etc.

The Art News triptych makes reference to the November 2002 issue of Art News magazine as well as to the news of the death of Richard Avedon. Avedon’s photo of Dovima with Elephants  is pinned to the bulletin board below the cover of the ART NEWS magazine. On the cover is Gilbert Stuart’s painted portrait of George Washington with the words: “Is There A Fake In The White House?” The question refers not only to the authenticity of the Stuart painting, but also, undoubtedly, to the 2002 US presidential election. Two additional images on this canvas are both entitled The Conversation. One is a painting by Henri Matisse and the other a work of Sean Scully’s inspired by the Matisse.

Book Paintings

For many years I painted images of art books that were either stacked, opened or floating in space.

When painting the spines of the stacked books my interest was in finding titles to play off of one another both visually and conceptually. In a sense they were paintings of stacked words.

In the open book series I was interested in how the images on facing pages, one often a detail of the other, were distorted when foreshortened.