Posts Tagged ‘collage’

Mark Bradford at the Institute of Contemporary Art

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Mark Bradford at the Institute of Contemporary Art,
Boston, Nov. 19, 2010—March 13, 2011

In text found on the ICA website, 2009 MacArthur Fellow Bradford is said to explore “issues of class, race, and gender in American urban society.” That may be true, but those issues are only the starting point for works which are ultimately a feast for the retina. At the end of the day, formal concerns which include surface texture, color, and edge are what make his best work successful.

His layering of found paper, such as commercially printed posters and billboards—and the use of string to draw dimensionally—provide a wonderfully mysterious surface which he partially excavates and covers with sanding, painting and collaging. Organizationally many of the large works in the show resemble maps or overhead shots of cities, but this aspect of the work is not really a key to understanding what’s going on. Rather, it is color, the dimensionality of the surface, and the partially revealed shapes which animate the surface—in this, he is an artist with very traditional concerns. That said, this a show you should not miss.