He is not yet 30, but already London-based William Bradley is taking on the heroes of Abstract Expressionism by challenging their use of automation and spontaneity. His work begins with abstract gestural watercolors, which are then scanned and digitally manipulated into a calculated arrangement. These resolved designs are then repainted in oil on canvas. His work can be described as "abstract art about abstract art" with an underlying concept that explores the communicative disconnect between artist and viewer that is specific to the pure abstract language. Bradley constructs a language of references or quotes from mostly Abstract Expressionists including Motherwell, Still, Gottlieb, De Kooning, while maintaining his own distinctive approach.
Bradley does not intend for his paintings to be interpreted as works of Abstract Expressionism. Instead, he exploits characteristics of the style in order to expose the contextual limitations. Thus, the paintings act to classify the artistic movement as a brand and an exhausted academism. The Modern concept is refreshed in these works through a contemporary portrayal. Although initially intuitive, gestural strokes are instead consciously transcribed patterns.
What Bradley proposes is a painted depiction of painting codes pertaining to abstract expressionism, early pop art but also generic painting. The visual signifiers, whether taken from high art or mundane reference, are simply used as visual or memorial rituals entering the elaboration of another artistic lexicon. Therefore, Bradley could be considered a conceptual artist. His work refers now to Ad Reinhardt, Blinky Palermo, Daniel Buren, and to a recent generation that reinfuses conceptual strategy to painting.
William Bradley graduated with a masters degree from Wimbledon College of the University of the Arts London in 2008, has been selected for FutureMap 08 and the Catlin Art Prize in 2009 and 2011. His works are included in many renowned private collections throughout the United States and Europe, and in the public collections of the University of the Arts London and the David Roberts Arts Foundation.