With love, from Maine
Presented online by Canada, “With love, from Maine” reveals a new body of work conceived by Katherine Bradford during the two weeks she spent self-quarantining at her home in Maine, having left New York amidst the intensifying COVID-19 crisis in early April.
Despite having a studio in the area, Bradford could not safely access the space without potentially putting others at risk. Her go-to medium of acrylic-on-canvas, meanwhile, was not a viable option at her house. Commandeering her kitchen table, she began creating small-scale paintings by applying gouache to handmade paper; as a material, the latter ultimately proved durable enough to support the layers of collage seen in some of the pieces—while also lending a satisfying weight to each richly-hued scene.
Across "With love, from Maine," Bradford’s signature style is apparent: from backgrounds rendered in solid blocks of color, to stylized depictions of humans as forms reduced to limbs, torsos, and featureless heads; rather, through attire, posture, and other expressive physical gestures, these imagined subjects retain cohesive, even compelling, elements of personal identity.
The figure of a diver, suspended in mid-air as though hovering above rather than plunging toward a body of water, is a ubiquitous presence in Bradford’s paintings, with two such examples, Early Morning Swim (2020) [pictured] and Dive From Yellow (2020) included in the show. The diver’s angle of attack often emulates that of Bradford's flying superhero—another reoccurring motif that, in this exhibition, she alludes to in Superhero Gathering (2020).
Befittingly, "With love, from Maine" introduces a new character to Bradford's repertoire: the titular subject of Nurse (2020).
Katherine Bradford, Early Morning Swim, 2020. Gouache on paper, 14 × 11 inches.