Joe Bradley - Bradley's pieces at Gavin Brown - Image via gavinbrown-biz

Joe Bradley

United States 1975

Abstract Art, Painting

Joe Bradley
Joe Bradley
United States
July 3, 2016
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Working between a rich abstract language and slacker aesthetics, Joe Bradley is an American painter who emphasizes the use of as little effort and material as possible in order to depict complex expressive narratives. Because of such methods, this artist earned himself numerous comparisons with the movement of Minimalism, although Joe’s approach is a lot more ironic and cynical in nature when compared to the original intentions of minimalistic painters. Another artistic style Joe is often associated with is the color field painting due to his simplistic practice of incorporating primary colors, but this also can not be completely true as Bradley has been known to depict human forms in his works – even though they are extremely disfigured and abstract.

gallery press new contact like 2016 canvas
Joe Bradley – Norman, 2012 (Left) / Hickup, 2012 (Right)

Artistic Introduciton

Joe Bradley was born in Kittery, ME, in the year of 1975. He went on to receive his BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design at the age of 24 and quickly skyrocketed to art world stardom thanks to his vivid, dynamic style and original aesthetics. His methods developed over the years slowly, but ever since he became popular, it seems as though his work has been sticking to similar ideas for the majority of the time. Through his art, Bradley attempts to find the perfect balance inside a triangle of Twombly-like scrabble, kitschy iconography and hard-edge geometric abstraction inspired by the old avant-garde movements. This applies to even the oldest series he ever painted – in it, Joe created anthropomorphized shaped canvases which evoke the work of Ellsworth Kelly or Blinky Palermo and resembles running figures. With this first project that was arguably Bradley’s most successful and iconic one, the artist displayed an approach that was simultaneously dazzling, playful and irreverent. His later paintings depict figures resembling human forms and they have been often associated with certain aspects of color field painting and Minimalism, as was already said before. In an attempt to precisely explain his art, Bradley described his work with the words intentionally shoddy and pathetic – this is probably down to the fact Joe uses flimsy shop-bought canvases, although he appears to be putting much more attention to the choice and quality of color.

Of all the related artists amongst the Americans, Joe Bradley may be one of the most efficient and versatile abstract painters of them all – regardless of the art period

gallery press new contact like 2016 canvas
Joe Bradley – Hanuman, 2012 (Left) / Waster, 2011 (Right)

Current Art and the Way It Talks to the World

Methodically speaking, Bradley often paints flat on the floor, similar to the way Pollock used to make his own pieces. This actually allows Joe to maximize the chances of accidental marks and the picking up of materials appearing on his paintings, as well as a little bit of dirt which is always welcome – these sorts of improvisational moments make Bradley’s work very untimely dynamic and unpredictable, which is exactly for what this artist goes for in his career. He regularly applies paint on one side of the canvas only to have it break through the paper and make their way to the side that will actually be displayed. It should also be noted that Bradley has been taking his experimentation a step further than combing Minimalistic and abstract elements – he has been known to assemble uncomplicated figures from a couple of canvases with simplistic depictions similar to color field paintings. These pieces are quite interesting to observe as they do not resemble anything else present on the art scene. Another alteration from traditional paintings are the pieces in which Joe draws simple lines on found cardboards and post-its, making the artworks simple in nature and yet fascinating to look at. He also incorporates many child-like markings in his works, which fits in perfectly with the simplistic nature and emphasized improvisation of the pieces he authors. Throughout his career, Bradley found much critical and commercial success as his work was always well accepted by both the experts and the wider masses of audiences. Joe never had problems with finding representation either as he always seemed able to find his place in prestigious galleries and prominent museums in the United States – he was the focal point of numerous high-profile exhibitions, crowned with his participation in the 2014 exhibition titled The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World, a show organized by The Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

gallery press new contact like 2016 canvas
Joe Bradley – Trans (Alien) , 2006 (Left) / Mystery Boga (Purple), 2006 (Right)

The Impressiveness of Joe Bradley

Joe Bradley may always stick to the confinements implemented in the realm of painting, but his aesthetics are far from restraints as it’s formally wild and expressive to the bone. From the modularly shaped paintings paying homage to Minimalism, to the rudimental line drawings on cardboards, to the unceremoniously stitched pieces – Bradley always displayed an expressive note of originality and made sure every single piece seems to be the world on its own. Developing such a simple yet complex visual language must have been undoubtedly challenging, but luckily for the art fans around the world, Joe Bradley managed to pull it off.

Joe Bradley lives and works in New York City, United States.

Featured Image: Joe Bradley – Bradley’s pieces at Gavin Brown – Image via
All images via

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Joe Bradley - Canton RoseDiagonal Building, Maag Areal, Zurich Solo
2016ShapeshiftersLuhring Augustine Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2016Make Painting Great AgainCanada, New York City, NYGroup
2016Plane.siteGagosian Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2016Nice WeatherSkarstedt Fine Art, New York City, NYGroup
2016In Different WaysAlmine Rech Gallery - London, London Group
2015The Avant-Garde Won’T Give Up: Cobra And Its LegacyBlum & Poe - Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA Group
2015Beverly Hills 20-Year Anniversary Invitational Exhibition, 1995–2015Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA Group
2015Intimate PaintingHalf Gallery, New York City, NY Group
2015Drawings from the Ringier Collection Chapter I - Villa Flora WinterthurSammlung Hahnloser, Winterthur Group
2015The Guston EffectSteven Zevitas Gallery, Boston, MA Group
2015New York PaintingKunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn Group
2015Love for Three OrangesGladstone Gallery - Brussels, Brussels Group
2015Works on PaperDiagonal Building, Maag Areal, Zurich Group
2015The Shell (Landscapes, Portraits & Shapes)Almine Rech Gallery, Paris Group
2014Joe BradleyLe Consortium, DijonSolo
2014Joe Bradley - The Ss Potlicker And FriendsDiagonal Building, Maag Areal, Zurich Solo
2014The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal WorldMuseum of Modern Art, New York City, NY Group
2014PlatformAlmine Rech Gallery, Brussels Group
2014LifeVenus Over Manhattan, New York City, NY Group
2014Brian Belott & Joe BradleyRetrospective Gallery, Hudson, NY Group
2013Joe BradleyGavin Brown's Enterprise, New York City, NY Solo
2013Anamericana: On View At The AcademyAmerican Academy in Rome Gallery, Rome Group
2013Draw Gym247365, New York City, NY Group
2013Summer DrawingsThe Journal Gallery, New York City, NY Group
2013Cinematic Visions - Painting at the Edge of RealityVictoria Miro Gallery, London Group
2013La Figurazione InevitabileCentro per l´Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, PO Group
2013White Collar CrimesAcquavella Galleries, Inc., New York City, NY Group
2013The BeaconSalomon Contemporary, New York City, NY Group
2012PigpenDiagonal Building, Maag Areal, Zurich Solo
2012Group ExhibitionBischoff Projects, FrankfurtGroup
2012Bhabha, Bradley & Fox - Bill Brady KC, Kansas City, MO Group
2012One Day At A Time - Peres ProjectsBerlin, Berlin Group
2012Painting NowDiagonal Building, Maag Areal, Zurich Group
2012Portrait of a GenerationThe Hole NYC, New York City, NY Group
2012PotholeSalon 94 Bowery, New York City, NY Group
2012East West Shift to the Middle Part II - Bill Brady KC, Kansas City, MO Group
2012Surface to SurfaceJonathan Viner Gallery, London Group
2012Friends & Family - Kenny Schachter ROVE Projects LLP, London Group
2011Joe Bradley - Duckling FantasyAlmine Rech Gallery, Paris Solo
2011Joe Bradley - DrawingsThe Journal Gallery, New York City, NY Solo
2011Works on paperGalerie Almine Rech - Paris, Paris Solo
2011Joe Bradley - Human FormCanada, New York City, NY Solo
2011Joe Bradley - Mouth And Foot PaintingGavin Brown's Enterprise, New York City, NY Solo
2011Group Exhibition - Mitchell-Innes & NashWest Street, New York City, NY Group
2011Ray's A LaughHalf Gallery, New York City, NY Group
2011 Sculpture Now Diagonal Building, Maag Areal, Zurich Group
2011Dirt Don't Hurtolie Laide, Philadelphia, PA Group
2011New York MinuteGarage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow Group
2011HotSpot Berlin. Eine MomentaufnahmeGeorg Kolbe Museum, Berlin Group
2010Freeks (Mitte) - Peres ProjectsBerlin, Berlin Solo
2009Joe Bradley: New WorkJonathan Viner Gallery, London Solo
2009Eat at Joes - Peres ProjectsBerlin, Berlin Solo
2009Joe Bradley - Peres ProjectsLos Angeles, Los Angeles, CA Solo
2008Joe Bradley - Schmagoo PaintingsCanada, New York City, NY Solo
2007Joe Bradley (Berlin) - Peres ProjectsBerlin, Berlin Solo
2007Joe BRADLEY - Peres ProjectsLos Angeles, Los Angeles, CA Solo
2006Joe Bradley - Kurgan WavesCanada, New York City, NY Solo
2002Joe BradleyAllston Skirt Gallery, Boston, MA Solo