#6 decembrance 2017

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One Sunday afternoon in November Warren and I were driving home through Washington, DC. As we drove past the Hirshhorn Museum a parking space opened up so we pulled in and headed up to the top floor to see the exhibit by Mark Bradford. Bradford's piece is huge. It takes up the whole third floor and is composed of a series of paintings or collages that are each about 45 feet long. He layers, tears, paints, and scrapes off found paper to make his images that are inspired by French artist Paul Philippoteaux's nineteenth-century cyclorama, on view in Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania. Philippoteaux's cyclorama depicts Pickett's Charge--the final charge of the Battle of Gettysburg.

I was inspired by the personal story and the depth and surface of the work. It was the detail of the torn edges and mystery of how he came to make the surfaces that inspired me to research Bradford as I didn't know much about him. He lives in Los Angeles and is inspired by his local culture, landscape and text which he uses to create his images.

In my own collage work Warren has often encouraged me to use personal material rather than found photos or text. In the Decembrance series I imagine the use of pots on abstract tables. Over old paintings and hand painted signs I began to layer paint and pages of poems and calligraphy practice sheets and other bits of papers brought home from Korea. The panels are layered and sanded to reveal striations of my history. My language of abstraction comes from my touch, personal history and specific vision.  The tensions between editing, collecting and altering become a stew referring to past experience and present use.

06-decembrance-2017-small.jpg"For me, it's always a detail--a detail that points to a larger thing. It can be text; it can be a quote. Bits of conversation. It's always a glimpse. I start to imagine what it points to, and that's when my imagination really goes. I don't really want to know what the detail points to exactly; I like the mystery."

--Mark Bradford, The Details, Art in America, September 2, 2014

"Politically and socially, we are at the edge of another precipice. I'm standing in the middle of a question about where we are as a nation." - Mark Bradford

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This page contains a single entry by Catherine White published on December 6, 2017 9:20 PM.

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