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








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?




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 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?‬‬




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




‪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








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




‪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




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




‪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




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




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




‪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




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