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Mark Bradford

American, born 1961

Mississippi Gottdam, 2007

Mixed media collage on canvas
102 x 144 inches (259.1 x 365.8 cm)
George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, 2008

California-based artist Mark Bradford's layered collages are informed as much by the aesthetic of appropriated public space in urban areas as by the tradition of abstract painting.

Bradford appropriates found materials, from homemade signage to comic books, to create large scale, multi-layered collages. His process is one of both collage and de-collage—both additive and reductive at the same time, allowing for the abstractions to emerge spontaneously.

Mississippi Gottdam, 2007, references a post-Katrina New Orleans—the organic abstraction recalls waves of water and uses actual debris from New Orleans's Katrina-torn streets.

Growing up spending lots of time in the salon where his mother worked as a hairstylist, Bradford has always been fascinated by merchant exchanges and underground communities that emerge in urban areas and much of his work is informed by these experiences. His collages become, in a sense, excavations of ghetto life.