Monday, April 09, 2012

Diana Al-Hadid + Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford, "A Truly Rich Man Is One Whose Children Run Into His Arms Even When His Hands are Empty," 2008.Photomechanical reproductions, acrylic gel medium, comic-book paper, carbon paper, acrylic paper, caulking,and additional mixed media on canvas, 102 x 144 inches. Collection of Marguerite Steed Hoffman. © Mark Bradford
My art review of a show in December 2011

It has been a while since I made the rounds to the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Garden, but I just had to see Diana Al-Hadid’s and Mark Bradford’s work in person. Both artists have monumental works that are a must see for anyone interested in art.

Diana Al-Hadid’s sculpture “The Tower of Infinite Problems”, on display at the Nasher, has what looks to be like an architectural wreckage. I imagine that this structure might have been a steeple from a church. I don’t know that Al-Hadid is referencing the separation of art from religion in contemporary life, but you can certainly see some sort of cataclysmic divide has occurred. There are some beautiful panels of honeycomb that appear to be part of an interior wall of the steeple structure. As you walk around the work, you can see a kind of stair step octagon that reflects the shapes of the smaller honeycombs. I feel as if I am looking at an artifact of an important structure that has just had a fragment saved. The work reminds me when I visited Ephesus in Turkey. There was so much partial reconstruction of buildings and you felt that what ever was saved becomes all that more important to preserve.

Mark Bradford's show at the Dallas Museum of Art will likely have a life changing affect on me. I have been greatly effected by blockbuster museum shows. In my second year as an undergraduate, I went to see a Matisse show and the following year I had the opportunity to view Picasso at the High Museum in Atlanta. You might say it ruined me for a while. Then a Degas show, around the same time, introduced me to chalk pastels. Being exposed to countless art galleries and museum shows has further shaped my work, and seeing all these shows has helped me find my voice. But few shows since those first few have spurred me on to experiment in different directions, or at least make me rethink about other forms. Bradford has made me rethink the collage.

Mark Bradford’s collages are like maps of cities that are dense in places and sprawling in all directions. There are so many little details to see as so much goes unnoticed in the work. I think I could have done better service to the works if I would have visited the show for about and hour a day for a straight week. The images are so rich with visual information that I needed to rest between works. Bradford’s urban landscapes are made from the little bits of city refuge and then worked over heavily to make something purely breathtaking.

Mark Bradford is showing at the Dallas Museum of Art and Diana Al-Hadid’s work “The Tower of Infinite Problems” at the Nasher Sculpture Garden. Both will be on display until January 15th and if your'e not a member of these two great institutions, you should really think about supporting them.
For more images of the shows go to

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