“I’m no good of being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problem of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.” – Rick from Casablanca (1942)
That memorable quote from a classic movie can easily translate to what people say of the art world that it don’t amount to a hill of beans but how about – full of beans? AF came to the opening of William Bradley last November 21st for Tall Tales and his color rich but innovative riff on Abstract Expressionism.
Full of Beans (2013) particularly struck an impact with its soothing blue and the outlined shapes recalled a bit of Motherwell’s Elegy to the Spanish Republic but the reference stops there. Bradley explored the limited scope of elements in the genre of Abstract Expressionism. He deduces shapes and makes a watercolor version in a smaller scale. (This was shown to us exclusively by gallery owner, Jean-Luc Richard, during the opening in the flat file drawer.) This watercolor serves as a template to project into a magnified scale where the artist outlines then paints it in a more saturated richer hue. It is an amplified version of the original. In a sense, the tall tale of a diminutive portion of an image or narrative is the statement. In this larger scale, the dialogue between viewer and the art itself is intensified in form and impact. Hit for Six (2013) straddles the line with the unlikely combination of lime green and purple with a color block offset by two strong vertical bars. It somehow works with its odd color combination but alluding to the forms composing the piece veers closely to the 50’s school of Abstract Expressionism but injected by Bradley with a new infusion of daring to magnify.
It is quite rare to see an artist pay homage to a particular genre and try not to explode it to the point of non-recognition. Bradley kept it close to the hilt but in the tweaking of elemental and color values that he brings his own brand of what can be expressive about Abstract works. The effects in his latest paintings are indeed bold, yet intimate enough to engage in and refreshing to behold. The old guard was about gestural and inflected points but Bradley chooses to distil and highlight the meatier choice parts in full color.
For those said attempts, he managed to overcome a tall order of his own choosing and his art does amount to a hill of beans. Perhaps even more.
William Bradley: Tall Tales / On View: Nov. 21 – Dec. 28, 2013
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (10 am to 6 pm)
Galerie Richard. 514 West 24th Street. NYC, NY 10011
Art Review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
Selected Art Images from Galerie Richard courtesy of the artist
Photography by: Max Noy Photo