Kunstmuseum Schloss Derneburg is pleased to announce an exhibition by American artist, Katherine Bradford opening 23 September 2023, the first solo museum presentation of the artist’s work in Germany. Bradford is best known for making luminous and dreamlike works that merge color field painting with figuration. Employing a direct and often whimsical language of composition, Bradford’s paintings depict an imagined view of the world that prompt an introspective look at the complex forces of thought and emotion that comprise the human experience. Fear of Shoes includes over a dozen paintings created between 2009 and 2023, including the show’s titular work, a painting inspired by Bradford’s first visit to Schloss Derneburg.
My painting “Fear of Shoes” was inspired by my first visit to Schloss Derneburg where I saw a suite of paintings by Baselitz that consisted simply of trouser legs and black lace-up shoes pointing upwards into the air. What interested me the most was that the legs intruded into the canvas and were not connected to anything or anyone. In this way I saw that the artist had succeeded in balancing humanity with abstraction — the legs read as stripes and yet they clearly belonged to a person.
– Katherine Bradford, July 2023
Throughout her career, Bradford has repeatedly featured swimmers and bodies of water in her paintings. In works like Pool Swimmers, Green (2015), Distant Life Guard (2018), and Large Ocean Painting (2016), swimmers are set amongst a textured and semi-transparent ground. Although these blocks or bands of color signify a representational space – a pool, the ocean – they are also abstract fields of pigment, studies of color and light. Wading, swimming, floating or treading, the figures themselves are rendered as reduced, fragmented and faceless patches of color. Their anonymity gives them an everyman quality. Painted in bright pinks, peaches, oranges and neon greens, they appear to glow from within, illuminating their backdrops.
In works like Philosopher's Clambake (2010), Beautiful Lake (2009), and Holiday After Dark (2018), Bradford depicts groups of people in a gathering, negotiating a shared space and each other. In Beautiful Lake, simplified peach-colored figures stand within a tranquil, night-lit lake, surrounding, and seemingly urinating into, a bright blue pond in the center of the composition. Holiday After Dark shows several pink and red bodies in various states of suspension floating in a dreamlike cosmos around a mysterious circular field that can simultaneously be interpreted as a swimming pool or perhaps as a hole to the center of a galaxy. In Philosopher’s Clambake (2010), a group of suited scholars pontificate with themselves and each other around a colorful and brightly lit bonfire.
Katherine Bradford (b. 1942, New York) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and Brunswick, Maine. She received a BA at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, and an MFA at SUNY Purchase in New York. Her work has been exhibited extensively in America and in Europe, including at The Modern Art Museum Fort Worth, Texas; MoMA PS 1, New York; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Portland Museum of Art, Maine; the Addison Gallery of American Art, Massachusetts; and Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville, Arkansas, among others. Bradford has been honored with two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Brooklyn Museum (New York), The Portland Museum of Art (Maine), the Art Museum of Portland Oregon; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), the Menil Foundation, Houston (Texas); and the Dallas Museum of Art (Texas), among others. In 2022, a major survey of her work organized by The Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine and accompanied by a comprehensive monograph has traveled to the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Washington. Bradford’s work is also included in the group exhibition “Who’s Afraid of Stardust?”, Kunsthalle Nurnberg, opening 21 October 2023.
This exhibition is organized in collaboration with Haverkampf Leistenschneider in Berlin.
For more information and images, please contact the Hall Art Foundation’s administrative office at email@example.com.