Katherine Bradford’s Figural Paintings: The World You Live In

Katherine Bradford’s paintings straddle abstraction and realism; painting the known figure in a gestural and obstructed manner. Figures are the central focus of each painting, covering most of the composition.

Many paintings are abstracted in their settings, challenging the viewer to place each subject in an identified location, or allowing the figure to speak over the setting. 

Bradford paints in a manner that is childish and playful. She works in bright colors and geometric shapes.

The playfulness of her paintings juxtaposes the serious undertones of the subjects and the adverse experiences they are facing. Bradford’s titles reveal a not-so-playful and serious significance behind each painting.

The bright colors of each painting, which peripherally flood your vision similar to Mark Rothko’s paintings, draw your initial attention to Bradford’s paintings.

But upon close examination of her work, one begins to see connections and interactions between figures that are strange and eclipsed; the way figures interact with each other arise questions of who these individuals are to each other, and what exactly is going on.

Color is not the only thing that allows an immersive experience with the paintings. Bradford rarely paints faces on her individuals, and when she does they are indistinguishable and unnamed.

Not a single figure in Bradford’s paintings are representational of a living person. Not one painting is a portrait. These unrecognizable figures could be you. 

The beauty of Bradford’s paintings comes from the ability to enter her paintings as a part of the work, not just as a viewer.

You as the viewer get to enter the strange world of her paintings, fully immersing into the interactions that are happening around you, and allowing you to ask yourself what is going on around you and what your place is within the fictional painting and in the real world around you.

All artwork copyright the artist.

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