Martha Jane Bradford
Clouds and Coal
Precise mark-making and tonal composition reign in the digital drawings of Martha Jane Bradford and Timothy Harney’s pensive portraits and abstract collages. The work of both artists will be featured at Clark Gallery from January 8 through February 23, 2008.
Martha Jane Bradford continues to explore the media of digital drawing in Clouds and Coal, allowing the technology inherent to her original drawings to become more visible. In the new body of work, featuring realist natural landscapes crowned with clouds, pronounced pixels create crisp textures and strong contrasts in tone while breaks in the compositions imposed by printing constraints highlight the modular nature of the digital media. The presentation of each drawing takes the viewer further into Bradford’s consideration of the natural landscape. She imparts her personal impressions and experiences of nature through the digital media.
Drawn with tremendous detail and attention to perspective and light, Bradford’s work may be mistaken as photography or computer-modified imagery. However, each and every mark is the artist’s own, just as if she were holding a more traditional drawing implement like charcoal or pastel rather than a stylus and pressure-sensitive digitizing tablet.
One of the show’s featured works, Sheepscott Village Trees, offers a succinct study of Bradford’s style and manipulation of the digital media. A cluster of trees is reflected on the surface of a meandering brook, with bold cumulus clouds brooding in the distance. The sharply defined lines of the drawing become shaded as the viewer moves toward the piece and examines the detailed marks registered as pixels. Bradford describes the effect as “a kind of digital impressionism.”
Bradford’s work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions at institutions including the Butler Institute of American Art, Boston Center for the Arts, Danforth Museum of Art, and DeCordova Museum. She has presented public lectures on digital drawing and her work has been discussed in several articles on the topic. Her work is included in many notable private, corporate, and museum collections.
In Small Paintings and Recent Collages, Timothy Harney contemplates the emotion and experience of individuals with ties to the underworld of vaudeville fairs and circuses. Intimate portraits on board and canvas capture the affects of the daring, colorful, and awe-inspiring performances on the circus workers, who appear lost in thought, with vacant yet provoking expressions of age and wear. The emotion of these portraits transfers to Harney’s abstract collage compositions. Found paper and other mixed media elements are placed in precise arrangements of line, color, and form. Careful consideration rewards the viewer with insight into Harney’s private dialogue of memory, dreams, and imagination.
Harney has received great acclaim and has been featured in exhibitions at the DeCordova Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston Center for the Arts, and many respected university galleries. The recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, Harney is also an accomplished curator and recently organized Belief in Paint at the New Art Center, Autumn 2007.
Martha Jane Bradford and Timothy Harney have both exhibited at Clark Gallery for over twenty years.