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    Sale 11960

    First Open | London

    14 April 2016, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 54

    Joe Bradley (B. 1975)

    Untitled

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Joe Bradley (B. 1975)
    Untitled
    signed, titled and dated 'Untitled Joe Bradley 2005' (on the reverse)
    gouache on graph paper
    26 ¾ x 32 7/8in. (68 x 83cm.)
    Executed in 2005


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    In Untitled, Joe Bradley’s lively attention to art history comes into play. ‘The entire thing,’ he says, ‘is more exciting if there’s a distinct possibility that you’re going to make an ass of yourself. I’ve always admired the kind of commitment I see in an artist like Agnes Martin. She just honoured this stripe thing to the very end, you know? I don’t think I can work that way, though’ (J. Bradley, quoted in ‘Artists in Conversation: Dike Blair and Joe Bradley,’ in BOMB 108, Summer 2009). The graph paper employed here makes a knowing reference to Martin’s carefully realised minimalist grids, subverting their aura of spiritual focus by substituting her intently hand-drawn lines for a mechanised found object, not born of meditation but lifted straight from a stationery store. Introducing a process-based element, the paper has gently warped with the drying of a schematically painted face, which leers Basquiat-like from a 7 x 11 section of squares: reminiscent of the splashy gouache in Bradley’s abstract work, this visage poses a deliberately awkward challenge to clean minimalism. In its endearingly of-centre way, like Bradley’s robot-shaped arrangements of canvas, it seems to try to assimilate into its machine-drawn surroundings, but the puckering paper and unevenly contained paint betray its incongruity. Bradley is thinking outside the box, and testing its limits. Fired up by a tantalising sense of risk, he becomes an affectionate iconoclast: Untitled is a deceptively simple work, confounding the surface and clashing disparate modes to arresting effect.

    Provenance

    Gavin Brown's Enterprise, New York.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2011.