Mark Bradford is an artist who transforms materials that he has taken from the streets; he turns these into wall-sized collages and installations that are in response to networks in a city such as underground economies, migrant communities, and popular appropriation of abandoned public space. His paintings are mostly abstract and often have layers and layers of paper collages that are map-like and also refer to the organization of streets, buildings, crowds, and more. For his collages, he uses things such as paper, cardboard, rope, string, and more; this can also define him as a sculptor.
Scorched Earth, 2006
I really enjoy when an artist uses a title to inform their work while still allowing the audience to make their own assumptions and understandings of what the artist is trying to say. Based on the title, one can tell that it is a picture of despair and ruin. Scorched is not a word to use when describing a good activity; it is used to describe complete demolition. And I think these city like forms are important in showing the world ending because this over colonization is what is making bad things in this world happen. Formally, I think this piece is really interesting because of the directionality and color of these geometric squares. The white and almost ‘peaceful’ squares are horizontal and the scorched parts are in a diagonal and falling like position. There are also primary colors within the scorched ruins as well.
Red Painting, 2009
This piece, again, I love because of the title. Taking collaged pieces and calling it a painting defies what a painting really is! It reminds me of an artist who put water in a cup on a shelf and called it an oak tree! And, the foremost color in this piece is not all red, it is mostly white, which I also think is quite ironic. But I guess that is part of being a professional artist and being able to defy what is common.
Here I go again with titles: I do not really understand why Bradford did not title this ‘Freedom without love.’ I really wish I could as him. These colors mimic those colors in the red painting piece that he did, and again, it is in a collage format. This piece relies solely on the text itself; freedom without love means…what? I think it defies what most people think; love is supposed to give you everything, and freedom should come along with that. But maybe he is focusing on the pain that is involved in love.