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katherine bradford

katherine bradford: philosophers’ clambake

Hall Art Foundation, Reading
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katherine bradford: philosophers’ clambake

The Hall Art Foundation is pleased to announce an exhibition by American artist, Katherine Bradford to be held at its galleries in Reading, Vermont from 15 May – 28 November 2021. Bradford is best known for making luminous and dreamlike works that merge color field painting with figuration. Employing a direct and often whimsical language of composition, Bradford’s paintings depict an imagined view of the world that prompt an introspective look at the complex forces of thought and emotion that comprise the human experience. Philosophers’ Clambake includes over a dozen paintings created in the past ten years.

Throughout her career, Bradford has repeatedly featured swimmers and bodies of water in her paintings. In works like Pool Swimmers, Green (2015), Distant Life Guard (2018), and Large Ocean Painting (2016), swimmers are set amongst a textured and semi-transparent ground. Although these blocks or bands of color signify a representational space – a pool, the ocean – they are also abstract fields of pigment, studies of color and light. Wading, swimming, floating or treading, the figures themselves are rendered as reduced, fragmented and faceless patches of color. Their anonymity gives them an everyman quality. Painted in bright pinks, peaches, oranges and neon greens, they appear to glow from within, illuminating their backdrops.

In works like Philosopher’s Clambake (2010), Beautiful Lake (2009), Holiday After Dark (2018), and Shore Diptych (2020), Bradford depicts groups of people in a gathering, negotiating a shared space and each other. In Beautiful Lake, simplified peach-colored figures stand within a tranquil, night-lit lake, surrounding, and seemingly urinating into, a bright blue pond in the center of the composition. Holiday After Dark shows several pink and red bodies in various states of suspension floating in a dreamlike cosmos around a mysterious circular field that can simultaneously be interpreted as a swimming pool or perhaps as a hole to the center of a galaxy. In the show’s titular painting, Philosopher’s Clambake, a group of suited scholars pontificate with themselves and each other around a colorful and brightly lit bonfire.

Katherine Bradford (b. 1942, New York) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and Brunswick, Maine. She received a BA at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, and an MFA at SUNY Purchase in New York. Her work has been exhibited extensively in America and in Europe, including at The Modern Art Museum Fort Worth, Texas; MoMA PS 1, New York; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Portland Museum of Art, Maine; the Addison Gallery of American Art, Massachusetts; and Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville, Arkansas, among others. Bradford has been honored with two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Brooklyn Museum (New York), The Portland Museum of Art (Maine), the Art Museum of Portland Oregon; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), the Menil Foundation, Houston (Texas); and the Dallas Museum of Art (Texas), among others. In 2022, a survey of her work will open at The Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine that will travel to three additional U.S. venues.

Katherine Bradford: Philosophers’ Clambake is presented in conjunction with Deep Blue, a group show curated by Bradford that examines “deep blue” both visually as a color, but also as a phrase that can describe more abstract concepts such as mood, the natural environment, music and even a region’s political landscape. Over 70 paintings, sculptures, photographs, works on paper and videos by 70 artists from the Hall and Hall Art Foundation collections will be included.