Tim Bradford/ The Beautiful Mundane: Love, Life, Walking and Tangential Reality

8th September – 13th October 2018
Opening reception Friday 7th September 7.30-9.30pm

The Beautiful Mundane: Love, Life, Walking and Tangential Reality is an exhibition of mostly new work by London-based artist Tim Bradford. It is based around a series of brightly coloured flower pictures, part of an ongoing series of botanic transcendental paintings that the artist began back over a decade ago when he was living in Co. Clare and time and space had opened up in his head. What he means by the beautiful mundane is “a search for everyday epiphanies” – he calls them “Zen Newsflashes” – an attempt at being aware of what is in front of you. Making sacred the familiar.

Bradford’s practice is grounded in walking, with notebooks, sketchbooks or camera, trying to focus on the reality of nature but often failing due to his ever-humming and temperamental mind archives. He works on field notes and sketches for a long time, until a finished painting appears in his head. He then completes each work quickly in a state of focused spontaneity/artistic battle frenzy, first by underpainting with acrylics, using his hands and fingers (or an old gardening glove) in a mix of yellow and gold, then later working quickly over the top with fingers and brushes, then and scratching away details and (sometimes) words using an old pen knife that he found in Epping Forest.

The jumbled background foliage is symbolic of his own non-academic approach, which owes more to South American folk art and primary school art lessons than traditional botanic drawings. Bradford’s constant grappling with his own perceived lack of drawing skills is part of the ongoing struggle to get down on canvas or paper the multi-layered experience of seeing and perceiving. Sometimes he juxtaposes the images with political slogans that energise him, but more often it’s what he is feeling and thinking about at the moment of recording.

The vivid colours in Tim Bradford’s paintings are intended to have a life-affirming effect on the viewer, perhaps with the sense of having a revelatory vision, a mild migraine or recovering from a hangover. Bradford’s search for the beautiful mundane is part of his attempts to make sense of modern life – and that trying to exist in the warm bath of an eternal present is hard when you’re constantly busy working, bringing up a family, arguing about politics, reflecting on relationships and worrying about the world in general. The paintings reveal the effort involved in being constantly mindful of the idea of William Blake’s “Heaven in a Wild Flower”.

Biography: Tim Bradford regards himself as an emerging artist. He is simply, like a drugged butterfly, emerging in slow motion. In his twenties he lived for a while in Venezuela and was heavily influenced by rural folk art. Other influences include the Rothko Chapel, Frida Kahlo, Egyptian funerary portraits, Holy well decorations, African barbershop signs, religious icons, surf T-shirts, old football cards, crap signs and those blue photos you get in old shop windows. A lot of his work involves fruitless searches for things that are lost, be they people, underground rivers, stories, buildings or ways of life. Regular motifs include the connecting and merging of maps, old photographs and whiskey-based visions.

Bradford works as a political cartoonist for The New European newspaper and football cartoonist for When Saturday Comes magazine. He’s had four heavily illustrated memoiry travel books published, the last of which – A London Country Diary – featured many of the same themes as this exhibition, including a series of nature sketches called Plants I Don’t Know the Name Of.

Art web: timbradfordart.co.uk
Writing blog : urbancountrydiary.co.uk

Exhibitions

August 2017
ART AT CASS 2017 (curated exhibition by The Siott Gallery)
Cass Business School, Bunhill Row, London

June 2016
What Goes On In The Mind (group exhibition)
Mental Spaghetti/AIMS
Town Hall Gallery
Oxford

April 2016
Cross-Pollination (group exhibition)
Mental Spaghetti, Dragon Cafe
London SE1

November 2014
Can You See What I See? (curated exhibition by The Siott Gallery)
Norden Farm Gallery
Maidenhead
May – August 2014
The Good Earth (group exhibition)
The Conference Centre Gallery, The Arts Project, St Pancras Hospital
December 2013-January 2014
The Reflecting Eye (group exhibition)
The Conference Centre Gallery, The Arts Project, St Pancras Hospital

June-July 2013
New Wave Wang-Eyed Pop Folk Art: A Retrospective (solo exhibition)
Stoke Newington Library Gallery, London N16

Jun-Aug 2011
Everything Is Connected [Sort of] (solo exhibition)
Cinnamon 2, Finsbury Park, London

Jan/Feb 2010
Portrait for Everyone (curated exhibition)
Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Haringey, London

Sept 2007
Not What You’d Expect – Irish Painting 1919 to 2007 (curated exhibition by Fiona Woods)
Ennistymon Courthouse Gallery

June/July 2007
Bachelors Walk – Pictures from a North Clare Townland (solo exhibition)
Ennistymon Courthouse Gallery

June-August 2006
Works on Paper (curated group exhibition)
Glór, Ennis

October 2005
Earth Patterns (2D3D)
Group show
Stoke Newington Gallery http://thesmoke.net/ddddd/