MARK BRADFORD at Sikkema Jenkins

 Mark Bradford, Fuhgitfulness, 2012, 120 x 198 inches, mixed media collage on canvas

In his exhibition of magnificent new paintings at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. (through December 22, 2012), Mark Bradford continues to wow us with the scale, complexity, and sheer beauty of his work. His paintings have always been about the process of layering -- literal layers of paper, paint, material that comprise the surfaces, and the layers of information and humanity that comprise the urban cultural terrain. One of the brilliant tensions that drives this work is the fact that Bradford's process is clearly visible -- twine, paper and pigment collaged onto the surface which is then sanded and de-collaged to reveal the layers -- yet we cannot imagine how he actually makes these things. They almost seem like physical impossibilities. The sustained, exuberant, obsessive focus required to construct one (let alone ten) of these works is mind boggling. Bradford has given us a selection of deeply satisfying aesthetic objects that demand and reward repeated viewing and scrutiny, that like nature itself, engulf our vision and expand our imagination.

Mark Bradford, Her Mouth Across the Table, 2012, 102 x 144 inches, mixed media collage on canvas 

Mark Bradford, Silver & Blue, 2012, 120 x 199 inches, mixed media collage on canvas 

Mark Bradford, Silver & Blue (detail)