Katherine Bradford is known for her vibrant palette and eccentric compositions. Often built up over months and sometimes years, Bradford’s paintings are textured, semi-transparent coats of acrylic paint, with hints of pentimenti exposed in the finished surface. Her recent works revisit several of her favored motifs, such as ships and swimmers—traditional and enduring subjects seen throughout art history. Bradford’s canvases, however, are more ominous, and often improbable in comparison to the relative calm of James McNeill Whistler’s paintings or Paul Cézanne’s portraits of bathers.
Figures from the Collection offers various artists’ perspectives on people and their surroundings. The works’ subject matter ranges from autobiographical and inclusive of friends and acquaintances to historical or completely fictional. Taken entirely from the Modern’s permanent collection, the exhibition includes paintings, photographs, videos, prints, and drawings.