As Joe Bradley’s style has oscillated between monochromes, large abstracts, and minimalist modular compositions such as the present work, perhaps the only constant has been an emphasis on process. Bradley’s praxis is loaded with art-historical reference. In his words: “With painting, I always get the impression that you’re sort of entering into a shared space. There’s everyone who’s painted in the past, and everyone who is painting in the present” (Joe Bradley in conversation with Laura Hoptman, Interview Magazine, 16 May 2013, n.p.). This is certainly true of Nightmen: the assemblage of geometric canvases is redolent of Ellsworth Kelly and Frank Stella. Similar to these luminaries of the 20th century, Bradley's oeuvre occupies the intriguing space between painting and sculpture. In his assemblage of modular canvases, Nightmen alludes to both Modernist geometric constructions and the abstracted human form, a sculptural concept that is further reconciled on a painterly level. Radiating serious complexity and conceptual rigor while simultaneously underlined by humor, Nightmen stands at the very heart of Bradley’s artistic practice, which is as much informed by the art historical debate between form and content as it is by quotidian experience. While the careful choreography of assemblage positions the present work aesthetically within an almost Minimalist field, its complex and variegated conceptual invocations are a testament to Bradley’s long-standing investment in the history of painting, looking to the past to create something distinctly his own.
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