Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique  discovering  thesis and processes behind the work.








Ramos:  a lot of narrative to this piece


Bradley:  ‪yeah I definitely like to have at least a vague narrative‬‬


Ramos:  ‪a major city, what looks like a marginal city adjacent to it, and then these bodies


all within a huge landscape that seems to be otherwise uninhabited


what is the vague narrative?


Bradley:  ‪the narrative boils down to two major questions: for such a dense city, why is it so desolate, and what are these bodies doing outside of the city?


Ramos:  ‪right‬‬


Bradley:  ‪I wanted to create a sense of space that segregated civilization‬‬

and placed our point of view from the outskirts


looking in, and beyond


I wanted the perspective to be a little altered from each segment‬‬

so that you get a sense of vertigo


Ramos:  ‪the lack of highways connecting to other cities is what makes it segregated?‬‬


Bradley: segregated in terms of space


we have the dense area, separated by a ridge and series of hills and mountains


Ramos:  ‪right like Bogotá


Bradley:  ‪yes or Rio‬‬


Ramos:  ‪except without macro infrastructure connecting to other cities‬‬


Bradley:  ‪I have been debating with myself how large i want this city‬‬


my first idea was to have it recede almost infinitely


in the distance we would see the densest area


i liked having this city feel more isolated


Ramos:  ‪it becomes incestual‬‬


Bradley:  ‪why would there be a solitary city?‬‬


why is it disconnected? are there any other cities at all?


Ramos:  ‪is the disconnection important?‬‬


it is not explicit since the city continues to the right of the canvas


Bradley:  ‪implying that there is more to this city or world?


Ramos:  ‪right... if it was about disconnection, the city would be small within a huge ‬‬aerial


small in terms of space on the canvas, not in terms of density or scale of the actual city


Bradley:  ‪true. that is why i was leaning towards emphasizing the desert behind the city. I wanted to view this in terms of separate horizontal planes‬‬


perhaps the city bleeding past the edges of the canvas undermines the concept


but i did want it to seem immense


Ramos:  ‪it does seem immense, but for all I know, it is a small part of an even larger city that covers the world‬‬


what about the bodies?


Bradley:  ‪for me the city is bordered by a desert on one side, and the bodies on the other‬‬


‬‬Ramos:  ‪are the bodies a landscape of their own?‬‬


Bradley:  ‪the bodies are weird because they aren't in the city‬‬


the pov is that of someone entering the city


or someone leaving and looking back


Ramos:  ‪pov?‬


Bradley:  ‪POV point of view‬‬


Ramos:  ‪ohh ahha... wouldn't have guessed‬‬


Bradley:  ‪someone or some group intentionally put these bodies there‬‬


Ramos:  ‪which one is it? are they coming or going?‬‬


Bradley:  ‪coming‬‬


Ramos:  ‪from where?‬‬


if they were going, then it would reinforce the isolation narrative


because it does not imply the existence of another city


‪if they are coming, then the next city can't be so far away


Bradley:  ‪true.‬‬


‪the way i had rationalized it was more like an alien perspective‬‬‬‬


arriving at this place, first we see the bodies, then we wonder if there is anyone else left in the city at all


Ramos:  ‪it looks more like the perspective of another body‬‬


‪looking back at the city it left behind‬‬


Bradley:  ‪that is another idea i had as well, because then you are among the bodies‬‬


so the origin ‪is a dream i had many years ago of these giant forklifts dumping bodies along the side of US1‬‬


Ramos:  ‪I'm going to disregard that‬‬


Bradley:  ‪ok‬‬






Ramos:  ‪because i see this alien perspective as a common thread in your work‬‬


‪such as Docking Bay‬‬


Galen Bradley

Docking Bay

Acrylic on Canvas, 2010

36 x 24"

Bradley:  ‪yes. there's kind of a question as to why you're there at all‬‬

and why isn't anyone else


there's a story of something that happened


like we are archaeologists


the mystery of the disappearance of humanity


there are clues


but i wanted it to be less clinical


Ramos:  ‪cynical?‬‬


Bradley:  ‪but more of an all encompassing loss‬‬


clinical, as in a scientific observer


i don't want it to be neutral


‪there is a tone I am trying to achieve that is straddling the line between an observer and the absurd horror of the reality


there is a feeling that i get sometimes that rides that line, and it is tricky to talk about


Ramos:  ‪you are painting horror scenes‬‬


or suspense


Bradley:  ‪essentially‬‬


Ramos: there is nobody there, no clue of bodies this time


a potted plant has fallen over


but there is no wind


and no footsteps


so whoever knocked it, ran the other way


and I think ran, because if they weren't in a rush, why not pick up the mess?


Bradley:  ‪there is an absurdity to the potted plant


to me it somewhat humorous


this is that tricky emotional line again


Ramos:  ‪perhaps someone was holding the plant, the explosion happened and they dropped it‬‬


Bradley:  ‪perhaps‬‬


‪im trying to recall some of my impulses for the painting‬‬


Ramos:  ‪and it all happened so fast, the person who dropped the plant forgot to put their trousers on before evacuating‬‬

Galen Bradley

Space Walk

Acrylic on Canvas, 2010

30 x 48"



Bradley:  ‪people do things, like keep plants, ‬‬


or feel the need for pants


‪build cities‬‬


but there so many more powerful forces


we bring plants with us into space


‪plants are interesting because they are living, but are so neutral. we harvest them for their beauty to place in a vase


to give as a gift


but it's not the plant's normal environment


they are already out of place in a certain way


there is a tenderness in keeping a plant


and growing attached to it


Ramos:  ‪I noticed another plant in this piece‬‬

Galen Bradley

Untitled (Monster with Plant)

Acrylic and Charcoal on Canvas, 2010

36 x 24"

Ramos:  ‪the figure in this piece looks tender only because it seems to be absorbed by the plant


Bradley:  ‪yeah it is a hideous creature, but it is attracted to this little symbol of beauty


it's rather sad to me


futility is an interesting concept to me


Ramos:  ‪it is sad, there is a trace of humanity in it's meditation towards the flower... there is also humanity in it's breast‬‬


futility as in vanity?


Bradley:  ‪they are related‬‬


Ramos:  ‪was this woman once as beautiful as this flower‬‬?


Bradley:  ‪we think our actions have a certain degree of importance


no it was born an abomination


a pile of useless flesh


‪but yet it still lives


‬‬Ramos:  ‪are those breast real?‬‬


or is it an attempt at beauty?


Bradley:  ‪the breasts are a useless appendage‬‬


like the appendix


it has the appearance of a function


Ramos:  ‪or of beauty‬‬


Bradley:  ‪correct‬‬


you have this pile of flesh


none of it is functional


when we see a human body


we attach certain significance to it


especially a dead body


our flesh becomes something different in death


Ramos:  ‪this pile of flesh is not dead‬‬


Bradley:  ‪right‬‬


it hasn't decayed


Ramos:  ‪it is clearly sustaining itself with what seems like limbs


it is also reaching for the flower


Bradley:  ‪you're talking about the monster with the plant‬‬


sorry i went back to the city one


Ramos:  ‪yes the she-monster


well, the bodies in the first painting are not dead either


Bradley:  ‪no they aren't


Ramos:  ‪they may be suffering‬‬


Bradley:  ‪they are in a minimal state


not quite dead, not quite alive


‪in a stasis of suffering


Ramos:  ‪like the she-monster‬‬


what are you trying to say? about humanity‬‬


how many monsters don't we encounter with perfectly crafted breast?


Bradley:  ‪i guess i'm trying to say we are all sacks of flesh, desperately trying to connect, have a purpose, but more than anything humanity just suffers


but this isn't exactly a tragedy


it is the way it is


Ramos:  ‪humanity does suffer‬‬


isn't suffering optional?


pain is inevitable


but suffering is optional


Bradley:  ‪hmm


Ramos:  ‪it's how we deal with the pain that causes suffering‬‬

for example, hunger


Bradley:  ‪yes you can theoretically be starving and still find solace‬‬


Ramos:  one may suffer from hunger, or one may fast and therefore spiritually awakened by the absence of food‬‬


Bradley:  ‪right, pain itself isn't always contextually bad


Ramos:  ‪there is information in pain


such as, I have not eaten in three days


suffering is something entirely different


suffering is the narratives we create around pain


these narratives are endless


Bradley:  ‪yes and they usually involve the relinquishing of power‬‬

such as, someone else caused the pain


Ramos:  ‪absolutely‬‬


Bradley:  ‪the bodies in my city painting‬‬


were placed there


they are collectively suffering


and despite their proximity, there is no love


there is no understanding


they each are in their own private hell


Ramos:  ‪how is that not a reflection of the world as it functions today?‬‬


Bradley:  ‪it is‬‬