James Bradley

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The Blindfold, 2014 Canvas 1.5 X 33 Inches
Quick Facts
Orange, California
Birth year
Lives in
Portland, OR
California College of the Arts, 2009, MFA
Representing galleries
Purgation Projects
figurative, mixed-media, installation, conceptual, pop, surrealism, modern


The Blindfold

The canvas blindfold, composed of a long strip of raw canvas folded in half, then wrapped around the head over the eyes and tied at the back where the base of the skull meets the neck, represents the most basic form the painted object can assume. It exists in a structured shape without stretcher bars. The body of the wearer becomes the support; his bones, stretcher bars and cross beams; his tendons and blood, nails and glue; his upright or seated posture, the museum wall. The minute particles of sweat and oil on the surface of the wearer's skin become the only paint and medium involved. The wearer is at once maker, spectator and object. He can be considered to be either completely sightless, or it may be said that the inside of the blindfold is all he sees, a negative surface analogous to the backside of a painting hanging on a museum wall, which cannot, under normal conditions, be seen by anyone. As stated above, the canvas blindfold is the most basic painting, but it also, in removing the visual element of the painted surface usually seen as essential, frees itself to become entangled associatively with any and all visions which may appear before the wearer's inner eye. As such the gesture it engenders can be regarded as either minimal or maximal, depending entirely upon the conceptual predilection of the one making the judgement. In donning the blindfold the wearer becomes a self-contained dialectic triad of maker, spectator and object, a feedback loop of the three constituents of artistic communication encircling one another in an ascending spiral of never-completed progress towards a higher synthesis.

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