Peter Bradley: ‘What’s Important Is the Color’

Bradley’s “Midnight Moon,” from 2020, acrylic, pumice and sponge on canvas. Credit…Peter Bradley and Karma.

“In person, Bradley is warm, refreshingly irreverent, unapologetic, and potty mouthed.”

From left, Helen Winkler, an art historian; Peter Bradley, the artist and curator; Kenneth Noland, the painter, and Clement Greenberg, the influential critic, in Houston in 1971. Greenberg came as a guest but ended up helping install the show. Credit… Menil Archives/Menil Collection; Hickey-Robertson, Houston.

Bradley was among a handful of Black artists, along with [Sam] Gilliam, [Ed] Clark and Williams, making abstract work in the late 1960s and 1970s. Now as then he vehemently opposes figuration, including “stupid figurative Black art. A bunch of slaves on boats,” he said.

Bradley’s studio is a shipping container parked near the house. He first pours waters on canvases to help adhere the paint. A finished painting, hanging, became two works, “So What This Is It” and “Train.” Credit… Douglas Segars for The New York Times.

“I feel like I am composing music,” he said, seated on a Steinway stool, with Count Basie playing softly in the background. There are no paint brushes in sight. Instead, Bradley uses his hands, wooden sticks and an electric paint mixer to stir colors in plastic buckets. He then pours the concoction onto the wet surface of a canvas.

An unfinished abstract painting by Bradley inside his home in Saugerties. Credit… Douglas Segars for The New York Times.

“Look outside. Look how abstract it is out here,” Bradley said, looking at the garden. “Before you see any plants, you see the color. What’s important is the color. Nothing else.”

(Katya Kazakina, “Is Peter Bradley Ready for Round 2 in the Limelight,” NYTimes, 8-27-21)

(c) 2021 JMN — EthicalDative. All rights reserved

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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2 Responses to Peter Bradley: ‘What’s Important Is the Color’

  1. Wow, that colour on the last one!

    Liked by 2 people

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