Mark Bradford - Editions & Works on Paper New York Tuesday, April 19, 2022 | Phillips

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  • "Bradford’s series of 14 prints grew out of collage work inspired by neighborhood ‘merchant poster’—brightly colored local advertisements that target the area’s lower-income residents. For Bradford, these posters serve as both formal and conceptual points of departure for his artwork: ‘The sheer density of advertising creates a psychic mass, an overlay that can sometimes be very tense or aggressive,’ he has said, ‘As a citizen, you have to participate in that every day. You have to walk by until it’s changed.’ Devoid of color, scaled down, and abstracted, the merchant poster remnants in these prints are surrounded by a field of scratches, marks, and scuffs. Each print in the series was made using two different printing plates—one for the background and one for the central ‘poster’ image. The gritty, distressed background was achieved by printing from the backside of etching plates recycled from the Lower East Side Printshop, the innovative workshop with which Bradford collaborated to make these prints. The plates had been used for projects by other artists in the workshop, and their backs reflected the wear-and-tear of handling during prior printings. This re-use mirrors the kind of foraging and subsequent layering, tearing, and sanding of found materials that Bradford deploys in his collage work. The square central motif containing text was printed and collaged onto these background sheets using a photo-transfer method that allowed Bradford to recycle text from other merchant poster–based work. These posters’ texts, such as ‘My Child Says Daddy/Child Custody/Divorce/Visitation’ and ‘Create a New Credit File Legally!’ have different levels of legibility from print to print, reflecting the artist’s process of hand-tracing and outlining words and phrases from the original street posters." —Judy Hecker, Mark Bradford’s Urban Etchings, April 2, 2015 

    • Artist Biography

      Mark Bradford

      American • 1961

      Now acclaimed worldwide, Mark Bradford was first recognized on the contemporary art scene in 2001, following the inclusion of his multi-layered collage paintings in Thelma Golden’s Freestyle exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem. The groundbreaking exhibition introduced him alongside 27 other emerging African American artists as part of a generation of "post-Black" artists who sought to transcend the label of "Black artist”, while still deeply exploring and re-defining the complex notions of blackness. Bradford’s ascent has been as awe-inspiring as it is deserving: from critical attention in Freestyle, to his first solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in 2007, to his installation at the 2017 Venice Biennial as the first African American artist to represent the United States.

      Critical of the ways in which the annals of art history divorced abstract art from its political context, particularly when looking at the Abstract Expressionists working in the 1950s, Bradford has endeavored to “make abstract painting and imbue it with policy, and political, and gender, and race, and sexuality”. Bradford’s pursuit of what he has termed “social abstraction”, that is, “abstract art with a social or political context clinging to the edges”, is deeply indebted to his choice of materials that allow him to imbue his works with a proliferation of readings, from art historical, to political, to autobiographical.

      Bradford’s choice of material has always been deeply connected to his biography and everyday existence. While Bradford’s early work utilized end-papers, the use of which was inspired by time at his mother’s hair salon, in the mid-2000s the artist shifted towards using paper material sourced on the streets of his immediate neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles. Despite the fact that Bradford is known for making paintings out of found printed material, his works only reveals glimpses of their original documentary intent. Working in the lineage of the Dadaists and the Nouveau Réalisme movement, Bradford honed a refined technique of a décollage, a process defined by cutting, tearing away or otherwise removing, pieces of an original image.

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The complete set of 14 etchings and photogravure, with Chine collé to wove paper, the full sheets.
all S. 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm)
All signed, dated, annotated 'from a set of 14' and numbered 10/25 in pencil on the reverse, published by Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, all framed.

Full Cataloguing

$25,000 - 35,000 

Sold for $25,200

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Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 19 - 21 April 2022