A way to share and manage lots.
Peres Projects, Berlin
“I think that’s one of the special things about painting and art making is that you can have conflicting emotional content. Something can be tragic and humorous and stupid and serious all at the same time.” Joe Bradley, 2007
Somehow troubling and brilliantly comical at once, Joe Bradley’s Pig of 2009 can be considered the exemplar of the artist’s irrefutable skill at making the seemingly unskilled line. When confronted by the toothy porcine grin, a visual revelation of primeval wisdom appears from within the brazen, messy lines and the coarse textures. Bradley’s process is almost unnervingly conspicuous. The unprimed, raw canvas having been lain upon the ground has captured all the distinctive essences of the air, the dirt, the oil paints, the rubbish and the smudges that the artist has culled from the studio surroundings. The treatment of the canvas only multiplies the primitivist appeal of the arrantly transparent foreground composition. Though the techniques of master forbearers such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Bradley treatment and use of pigments and brush lines can be almost painlessly inferred; the wit and the farce so characteristic of Bradley prevails here. The artist explains, “But painting can also be too earnest at times and that's a drag. You don't want to go in that direction either. It should be holistic. It should represent the whole of your personality, I guess, so if somebody is a sincere painter or an ironic painter, then they're just bullshitting the audience and presenting only an idealized version of themselves” (L. Hoptman, “Joe Bradley”, Interview Magazine, 2013).
The artist’s choice of muted, earthy colors of indigo, claret, and sandy yellow balance the childlike energy that fluctuates throughout the smeared lines. Fragmented by the linearity of the figure, the painting’s surface tugs our eyes between the stark one-dimensionality of the form and the abstraction of the arrangement. The gold-toothed smirk of Bradley’s Pig begs us not to engage in thoughtful, deliberate dialogue yet we cannot help but be captivated by its palpable visual power and return its snarl with our own smirk.
New York Evening Sale 14 May 2015 7pm