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Born: 1961, Los Angeles, California
Lives and Works: Los Angeles
Mark Bradford creates large-scale works on canvas that deploy techniques and materials to spectacular effect. Appropriating ephemera and imagery from his surroundings, the artist pairs an examination of the formal issues of abstraction and figuration with sociological questions regarding systems of culture, communication, and exchange in his Los Angeles neighborhood. Found elements incorporated into his work, include permanent-wave endpapers, hair, foil, scraps of paper, and remnants of posters from abandoned lots, telephone poles, and fences. Bradford collages these materials onto canvas and then paints or sands away elements, often retracing underlying text. In his work, the collaged materials take on the character of cartographic grids and lines become an appropriate metaphor for the cultural mapping from which they emerged.
Bradford's paintings are part of an artistic practice that includes videos, prints, and sculptural installations. For the 2008 Carnegie International he has also created an installation on the rooftop of the museum. Inspired by the stranded victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, he has spelled out the words "HELP US" in a work visible only from an aerial viewpoint.