As an artist inspired as much by destruction as creation, Mark Bradford builds his canvases with destroyed objects. He creates a synecdoche of south central L.A. by transforming found and abandoned materials into intricate maps of the urban cityscape. In his own right Bradford is a cartographer of an abstracted Los Angeles, charting social issues and migrant communities rather than streets and city boundaries. Bradford has spent his entire life in Los Angles, receiving both his BFA and MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia.
With old want ads, posters, and what is essentially trash off the street, Bradford collages his collection only to destroy it further. His process consists of pealing away layer after layer to create a fragmented canvass of organized chaos – perhaps not far off from the atmosphere the materials came from. There seems to be a dialogue echoing between the materials and the surrounding area, as they both personify one another in some way.
The Escalette Collection features three of Bradford’s works. Though using a lithograph rather than collage, the pieces still exhibit similar themes. Endpapers reminiscent of his mother’s hair salon fill the frames leaving trails of wispy silhouettes. They process an eerie quality as if ghosts from his childhood memories. Then the impression of a chainlike fence imprints a colder, rusted vibe to the chaotic composition. Once again such images made from rejected materials allude to a much bigger picture in both Bradford’s internal and external world.