DOVE BRADSHAW, 1969-2003
NATURE IS THE CATALYST
At the Mishkin Gallery, March 28 to April 29, 2003
BARUCH COLLEGE, NEW YORK, NY (3/20/03) -- For more than 30 years, Dove Bradshaw has been experimenting with indeterminacy and the aesthetics of chance. Change, which may be the only constant in nature, is at the heart of her paintings and sculptures which combine chemical elements with natural processes to create what is simultaneously a scientific experiment and an work of evanescent art.
Like the composer John Cage, with whom she has been associated, Bradshaw provokes new conceptions of time and space. Her art is never fixed. In a work like Contingency Pour, her images are formed by the chemical reaction of liver of sulfur (sulfurated potash) with silver. The initial image undergoes change as nature’s elements—humidity, light, temperature—affect the chemical composition and the appearance of the painting.
Other images, both sculptures and paintings, depend on the processes of oxidation and erosion as a variety of minerals, including limestone, marble and salt, react to atmospheric changes, water, or other unstable, interactive elements. In Passion, an embedded copper bar reacts with acid to create an indelable but changing stain on a wall. In a group of sculptures entitled Indeterminacy, the stain eventually involves the complete disintegration of one of the two components.
The artist’s role in this universe is that of instigator or manipulator of the natural elements. But having initiated the reaction of diverse elements, the artist, like the viewer, essentially steps back and watches to see what happens next.
Twenty-nine pieces will be on view in the Mishkin Gallery mid-career exhibition Formformlessness: Dove Bradshaw, 1969-2003, March 28-April 29, 2003, curated by Sandra Kraskin, Mishkin Gallery director. Opening reception, Thursday, March 27, 6-8 pm. Free and Open to the Public.
This exhibition is organized in collaboration with the publication of a new monograph, The Art of Dove Bradshaw, Nature, Change and Indeterminacy, with text by Thomas McEvilley. The book includes an earlier text from a conversation about Bradshaw’s work between John Cage and Thomas McEvilley. The book is published by Mark Batty Publisher.
A record of impermanence and flux, Dove Bradshaw’s art has often confounded viewers and collectors since the piece they admired or purchased could change significantly over time. From her 1969 installation plain air, in which a pair of mourning doves provided the element of indeterminacy, to 2002’s Oxygen, a photographic print in this exhibition, Bradshaw’s work is a challenging amalgam of science and art. As Edward Albee once said, “It accomplishes one of art’s primary functions—making us reconsider the boundaries and definitions of art.”
The Mishkin Gallery is located at Baruch College, 135 E. 22 St., New York City. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, Noon to 5 pm; Thursday, Noon to 7 PM.