Over the past two decades, Mark Bradford has created monumental works of abstract painting and collage. This exhibition focuses on the key material and fundamental motif Bradford employed early in his career and has returned to periodically over the past two decades: end papers.
In addition to his use of end papers, Bradford brings the salon into his art in other ways. Some titles are snippets of conversations that took place there or relate to aspects of that environment. For example, Click, 2001, evokes the sound of a curler locking into place. Many of the colors in these works come from hair dyes, such as in 43G Spring Honey, 2001. The artist’s combinations of colors imbue a dynamic quality of movement and create an ethereal depth. Over time, the compositions began to resemble pixelated, aerial maps of greater Los Angeles. Simultaneously, Bradford’s thoughts were evolving toward things he was seeing outside the salon.
Bradford’s End Paper works inspired his later use of “social papers,” such as merchant posters, advertising broadsides, and billboards he found in Los Angeles. By layering these materials, he creates a rich collage of his urban environment. Ultimately, Bradford’s works are as much about place as materials. As Bradford has said, “Art materials are always personal. We make them personal. But they are also connected to something else. In my case, it’s community.”
Eve, 2001. Mixed media on canvas. 72 × 84 inches. JP Morgan Chase Collection. © Mark Bradford
Bradford continues to extend his reach into his community. In 2013, he (along with philanthropist Eileen Harris Norton and activist Allan DiCastro) established Art + Practice, a nonprofit organization based in the Leimert Park area of LA that provides resources for underprivileged youth while encouraging their creativity.
On a clear day, I can usually see all the way to Watts, 2001. Mixed media on canvas. 72 × 84 inches. The Bluff Collection. © Mark Bradford
Join and receive free admission to the exhibition and the Party with the Artist, March 4!
Mark Bradford: End Papers catalogue
Plan your visit to the Modern. If you are visiting from out of town, plan your trip to Fort Worth.