DENVER (CBS4) – Mark Bradford is one of the country’s most renowned contemporary artists. This year, he’ll be one of the representatives of the United States at the Venice Biennale, which is one of the most prestigious art and cultural institutions in the world.
“Shade: Clyfford Still/Mark Bradford” pairs Bradford’s work next to Still’s, the artist Bradford admires most.
Bradford said of Still: “I was more drawn to Clyfford Still because of the group, he was rougher. He barked. He was just rougher, so maybe I like that because I am a little rougher too.”
Becky Hart, curator of the exhibition, said “In Clyfford Still, a power the courage to use the color black. The courage to push formal composition, and that really attracted Mark.”
Before the show, Bradford said “Black is like Voldemort. It will cause you to fail. It is the most difficult color to work with, but yet it is for me the most satisfying. It has that depth to it. It has, like, fear and possibility for me.”
Bradford’s work is made of a variety of colored paper. He bleaches them and manipulates the paper to achieve the look and colors he wants. Black is one of his dominate forces.
“They use black intentionally. One because it is such a difficult color to use in a composition, and of course, for Mark Bradford, its reference to race,” said Hart.
Civil rights and social issues are common thread for both artists in this show. Bradford selected the Still paintings with dark colors to be in the show next to his pieces.
Bradford was inspired by his predecessor to use the abstract form to address social issues.
“I think that a great artist is an artist who is willing to take risks and that’s what Mark Bradford is doing. And that’s what Clyfford Still did,” Hart said.
“Shade: Clyfford Still/Mark Bradford” opens on April 9.