GODWIN BRADBEER – 'Beasts: old and new work'
James Makin Gallery 23rd Oct – 9th November 2019
This aspect is particularly prominent in the series of gleaming heads produced over the first decade of the millennium, such as Imago-Domino (2009) where the sense of a sculpture or mask clearly outweighs consideration of merely a drawing of a person. In the current show this aspect is less pronounced, but works such as Europa (2019) maintain a gleaming fixity and isolation that still recalls sculpture.
Such depth of commitment is pointedly ambivalent however and successive adjustments as often abrade and distress the surface - by extension the figure - in a troubling oscillation. Works such as Portrait Point Blank (2019) resort to a fine saw blade with which to incise the work with curious scallops on the left of the figure, less an indication of volume than calculated defacement, an inflicted wear and tear to the artist’s judgement. The work is thus also about being naked on this more intimate, private level.
The artist in his sixty-ninth year contemplates what further concessions his project might allow, while Post Modernism has also moved on, less concerned with a forlorn ontology of painting or traditional resources than the genres that now proliferate in the digital world. It is a rich and intriguing prospect for both.