The other day I visited Gavin Brown's enterprise to see Joe Bradley's exhibition titled Lotus Beaters. Upon walking in the entrance to the gallery four beautiful large abstract paintings welcome the viewer. These four are the best works in the show... and they are terrific! His work obviously references abstract expressionism, but his way of handling paint, blocky compositions, and use of large swaths of negative space make him stand apart. According to Frieze Art Fair, "he makes paintings resembling human figures from assembled canvases which reference Color Field painting and Minimalism. Another thought that had occurred to me while in the presence of these richly textured and layered works Is that they have a look to them as if Basquiat had painted abstractions. These four especially possess the same energy, intensity, carelessness, and non-attachment as Basquiat's paintings do, minus the stream of conscious visual rap of words and images.
I also think Joe Bradley's paintings look like large drawings, although they have no similarities to his actual drawings, which I am not interested in. In every painting he intentionally leaves the unprimed canvas showing through, untouched by painterly brush strokes but often full of accidental but welcome drips and foot prints. To me the naked canvas reminds me of blank white paper and the drips remind me of pencil or charcoal smudges.
Here is a link to an interview Joe did with Phong Bui of The Brooklyn Rail... http://www.brooklynrail.org/2011/02/art/joe-bradley-with-phong-bui