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    Sale 11960

    First Open | London

    14 April 2016, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 54

    Joe Bradley (B. 1975)


    Price Realised  


    Joe Bradley (B. 1975)
    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.


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