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Conversation between Galen Bradley and Olivia Ramos.

 

Galen Bradley

Body Dump

Oil on Canvas, 2014

60 x 72"

RAMOS:  a lot of narrative to this piece

 

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

 

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?

 

‪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?

‬‬

‪right‬‬

 

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

 

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

 

segregated in terms of space

 

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

 

‪right like Bogotá

 

‪yes or Rio‬‬

 

‪except without macro infrastructure connecting to other cities‬‬

 

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

 

‪it becomes incestual‬‬

 

why would there be a solitary city?‬‬

 

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

 

‪is the disconnection important?‬‬

 

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

 

‪implying that there is more to this city or world?

‬‬

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

 

‪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

 

‪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?

 

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

 

are the bodies a landscape of their own?‬‬

 

‪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

 

‪pov?‬

 

‪POV point of view‬‬

 

ohh ahha... wouldn't have guessed‬‬

 

‪someone or some group intentionally put these bodies there‬‬

 

which one is it? are they coming or going?‬‬

 

coming‬‬

 

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

 

‪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

 

it looks more like the perspective of another body‬‬

 

‪looking back at the city it left behind‬‬

 

‪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

 

‪I'm going to disregard that‬‬

 

‪ok‬‬

 

lol

 

why?

 

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"

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

 

cynical?‬‬

 

‪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

 

you are painting horror scenes‬‬

 

or suspense

 

essentially‬‬

 

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?

 

there is an absurdity to the potted plant

‬‬

to me it somewhat humorous

 

this is that tricky emotional line again

 

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

 

perhaps‬‬

 

‪im trying to recall some of my impulses for the painting‬‬

 

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"

 

 

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

 

‪I noticed another plant in this piece‬‬

Galen Bradley

Untitled (Monster with Plant)

Acrylic and Charcoal on Canvas, 2010

36 x 24"

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

‬‬

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

 

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?

 

they are related‬‬

 

was this woman once as beautiful as this flower‬‬?

 

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

 

are those breast real?‬‬

 

or is it an attempt at beauty?

 

‪the breasts are a useless appendage‬‬

 

like the appendix

 

it has the appearance of a function

 

‪or of beauty‬‬

 

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

 

‪this pile of flesh is not dead‬‬

 

‪right‬‬

 

it hasn't decayed

 

‪it is clearly sustaining itself with what seems like limbs

‬‬

it is also reaching for the flower

 

you're talking about the monster with the plant‬‬

 

sorry i went back to the city one

 

yes the she-monster

‬‬

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

 

no they aren't

‬‬

‪they may be suffering‬‬

 

‪they are in a minimal state

‬‬

not quite dead, not quite alive

 

‪in a stasis of suffering

 

‪like the she-monster‬‬

 

what are you trying to say? about humanity‬‬

 

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

 

‪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

 

humanity does suffer‬‬

 

isn't suffering optional?

 

pain is inevitable

 

but suffering is optional

 

‪hmm

‬‬

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

for example, hunger

 

yes you can theoretically be starving and still find solace‬‬

 

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

 

right, pain itself isn't always contextually bad

‬‬

‪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

 

yes and they usually involve the relinquishing of power‬‬

 

such as, someone else caused the pain

 

absolutely‬‬

 

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

 

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

 

‪it is‬‬