Back in March 2013, I had my first inoculation into the world of Bradley Hart with his paint injected bubble wrap and the reversed side images it produced. Now with his latest show in Chelsea that opened on February 26th entitled Descendants, we can certainly see that the genesis of his art has given birth to a new strain of artistic magnificence.
The last show by Hart featured stark portraiture in the photographic style of Richard Avedon if the great photographer somehow took to painting like George Seurat. The pixilated look and meticulous acumen of Hart to patiently inject acrylic paint into each bubble to seep into the reverse side of the canvas was astounding. From that point on, one can only speculate what he will do next.
This latest show obviously had the trademark method done by Hart but instead of the stark and up close portraiture, he segued into full-scale scenery and more detailed snapshots of life. There were vistas, background and urban landscape that involves far more plotting and extra strategy to create the bubble wrap injection technique that still astounds.
Bubble wrap makes you think of popping them compulsively and once you pop one, you just can’t stop. This same mania is expressed by the work of Hart as he injects with relentless energy to create this bevy of work that is far more ambitious than the previous series. It makes you question, does the artist have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) tendencies? Who has the time and patience to inject each bubble with paint to produce a picture? Well not everyone but most certainly Bradley Hart does it with fervor as this has been part of his artistic repertoire to be able to produce his very digital looking pictures in the most labor intensive hand crafted way. Therein lies the dichotomy of a process that is both genius and manic at the same time.
Also in the first show were the drips resulting from popping the bubble wrap and the lines of prismatic waterfalls of acrylic paint that became artwork. There were several pieces that are now in huge canvasses exploring this progression of work that is a byproduct of the bubble wrap paintings. It has involuntarily given birth to a prodigious series, which is indeed a descendant of what he started with the initial idea of the bubble wrap.
There were resin encased sculptural pieces of hardened acrylic paint drips and detritus from the studio floor, jars and other ephemera of Hart’s studio. This idiom of waste not, want not has given birth to another strain of series. He had shown it earlier at the last show with a striped blanket of dripping acrylic paint on wooden dowels that I believed to be back then a study on what is now the sculptures that were shown.
Hart has given birth to these new evolved series seamlessly as it was a natural step to produce the drip paintings and sculptures. They are direct descendants to what he started earlier. Would that typecast him as the artist who injects paint into bubble wrap? That is a simplistic dismissal and really does one have the tenacity of this artist to continue on with his manic method. No one but the artist with this undying compulsion can craft such art wonders and that is why Hart continues to evolve and progress from years ago.
The lineage and genealogy of Hart’s oeuvre is in a clear line of direct descendants. There are no bastards or illegitimate children. Hart is the father and creator of them all.
Bradley Hart: Descendants / On View: February 26 – April 4, 2015
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (10 am to 6 pm)
Anna Zorina Gallery. 533 West 23rd Street. NYC, NY 10011
Art Review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
Photography by: Jamie Martinez