In an age of memes, when the digital feed all but forces the rapid-fire transfer of information, opinion, and semiotic meaning, the work of Joe Bradley presents a less frenetic visual order. Born in southern Maine and based in New York City since 2000, Bradley makes paintings and drawings that, like the drawl of a blues refrain, meld tragedy, dark comedy, and lightheartedness in a single emission. One can read this in the intense, often impasto regions of color that fill his large canvases. Bradley’s is a mode that, at first glance, harkens back to Dubuffet or Guston; crude shapes resolving into familiar forms suggestive of funny, sometimes biting narrative. For his contribution to Texte zur Kunst’s edition program, Bradley has made a black-and-white silkscreen print, produced from his recent ongoing series of humanoid comic-drawings. Characteristic of the works he’s created in this ilk, “Family” (2017) channels the satiric tone of Philip K. Dick or R. Crumb. Here, strokes of black ink applied to a white page depict a ladder leading up to a high platform bed and a blanket laid across it covering various odd forms: two pairs of feet are easily detected before two more come to light, revealing a family sharing a bed, two kids all tucked in while the grown-ups beside them lay stacked one atop the other, making love.
Silkscreen on paper, 48.3 × 61 cm, edition: 80 + 20 A.P., numbered and signed on the back, € 350.– plus shipping.