According to her son Arthur’s poignant post on Facebook, Katherine Bradford moved to New York in the 1980s with two small children in tow. For ten years she slept on a pullout couch, sent them to school, and cooked on a hot plate. All the while she studied painting and dreamed of becoming a respected painter and making her mark on the world. The family struggled, but Bradford was able to get to the studio each day, working nights. Now, decades later, she is presenting her work at Canada, one of the Lower East Side’s most prominent galleries. The opening was such a mob scene we joked that had a fire broken out, much of New York’s painting community would have perished.
[Image at top: Katherine Bradford, Fathers, 2016, acrylic on drop cloth, 70 x 96 inches. All images courtesy Canada, New York.]
Titled “Fear of Waves,” the exhibition features the beaches, pools, night skies, and swimmers that have appeared in Bradford’s previous work. Dispensing with the cartoonish superman image of recent years but not the corresponding sense of humor, Bradford’s new paintings remain playful. Her color has gained vibrancy, reinforcing a sense of joyful abandon. Yet the paint handling now seems less contingent and more internally resolved – as though satisfaction has arrived for Bradford.
Katherine Bradford, Surf Party, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 55 inches.
“What a feeling it is to see a huge gallery overflowing, packed with people, all crowding in to catch a glimpse of our hardworking mother and her paintings,” Arthur wrote. He had been witness to her endeavor from unrecognized painter to group show participant to accomplished solo artist. “Every piece in the show sold within minutes. I could’ve cried seeing this dream come true.” Arthur, your mother’s fellow artists feel the same way.
“Katherine Bradford: Fear of Waves,” Canada, LES, New York, NY. Through February 14, 2016.
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