New York painter brngs gallery to UA

Henry Barnes

Award-winning New York-based painter Katherine Bradford will have her work on display for University of Alabama students to view in the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art until May 9.

Bradford’s works have been showcased in solo exhibitions across the Midwest and Northwest for several years. This year, though, her works have made their way to the Southeast in the form of “The Golden Age of Exploration,” a solo exhibition consisting of 14 works hand-picked by the staff of the University’s Sarah Moody Gallery of Art.

“A lot of people would look at [Bradford’s] style and think she didn’t know what she was doing,” Vicki Rial, exhibition coordinator for the gallery, said. “But to create your own style, sometimes you have to depart completely from what you know. … Some of the [art students] that have been through have a hard time wrapping their minds around her style of painting as opposed to what they’ve learned in school.”

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Bradford said she draws her inspiration from a variety of artists.

“I favor a direct, nonacademic approach to painting, a style used by a diverse group of artists from Henri Matisse, Paul Klee and Philip Guston to Louise Bourgeois, Thorton Dial and Jean Michel Basquiet,” Bradford said.

Rial said she, along with the rest of the gallery staff, enjoys seeing the paintings every day.

“I wouldn’t think necessarily of using boats in my work, or Superman for that matter, and she uses both of them very well. One is a very traditional subject, and the other is a very contemporary subject, if you will, – Superman – but she uses them in a way that is playful, lighthearted,” Rial said.

Rial said the gallery staff likes to bring in popular artists from the art world and display the pieces at the University to let students see what’s going on and who’s “hitting it big” in New York, bringing more culture to Tuscaloosa.

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Bradford said she thinks the exhibition serves another purpose.

“The draw of this exhibition is the chance to see paintings up close, to examine how they are made and to pay attention to what choices the artist arrived at for her colors and her subjects,” Bradford said.

“The Golden Age of Exploration” will be on display until May 9 at the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art, located in 103 Garland Hall. Admission is free, and the gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Thursdays evenings, 5 to 8 p.m.

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