I was recently in the Boston area, where a friend of mine recommended I go to the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art).  While the venue is stunning, what really caught my eye was the Mark Bradford exhibition. Bradford has found a way to incorporate so many elements of my past work (collage, texture, repetition, iconography,  partials and personal history) into work that is visually compelling and thought-provoking.

“Disappear Like a Dope Fiend” Mark Bradford, 2006

Bradford uses found materials (permanent end papers, wrapping paper and street posters) to develop these extraordinary abstracts.  Rich with subtle imagery, his work compels you to step forward, then back away, then step forward again for another look, than back away once more, until you’re dizzy and you must sit down to take it all in.  I can’t recall seeing the work.  It’s like of falling head over heels in love, where you’re so overwhelmed, you know who he is, but can’t remember what he looks like.

Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhardt Richter, Jasper Johns and Jackson Pollock are all alive and well in Bradford’s intricate and spirited work.  Mark, to put it mildly, you’ve inspired me to spend my every waking moment in the studio making more work, taking it way beyond what I’ve done in the past.  I didn’t think it could be done, but Mark, you showed me how!  Thank you.  (and thanks to Brenda for recommending ICA).

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