RY DAVID BRADLEY
Born in Melbourne (AUS) in 1979, Ry David Bradley completed his MFA at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2013 before relocating to London where he now lives and works.
Ry David Bradley’s exploration of visual representation is fuelled by a constant negotiation between the history of manual image-making and the rising influence of digital artifice within the cultural imaginary. Having never worked with a brush on canvas, for the last twenty years Ry David Bradley has been forging a new path for the next generation of digital painters; a group for whom artistic expression will be best realized using software tools.
If the primary interest of any artist is to capture something of the time in which they are living, Bradley’s practice is focused on responding to and pre-empting how digital technologies will alter our visual experience of the world. In the same way that still life painting first emerged as a reactionary attempt to halt the decaying effects of time on beautiful matter, Bradley produces material images of the twenty-first century that similarly aspire to encourage pause and reflection. Freezing specific moments from the world we now fleetingly experience via the conduit of backlit displays, the artist reproduces the vibrant colours of RGB images using computerised processes of dye-sublimation printing or large-scale tapestry weaving, itself a precursor to the modern computer.
Perpetually concerned with posterity, the act of painting for Bradley is by no means a process of straightforward mimesis. Taking familiar source imagery from news feeds and news outlets alike, the artist uses clone stamps and dodge tools to distort and enhance these pictures, all the while foregrounding the unique gestural potential of the artist’s hand. The end products are often quietly dissonant or pleasingly uncanny. But as the artist himself argues: the notion of a “perfect” image quickly becomes boring, and the constant birthing and re-birthing of our societies into the present moment is undoubtedly an uncomfortable process.
What Ry David Bradley produces is not a style of painting designed to appease the old-guard of conservative art collectors, but rather a new form of the material image. A style that, for its fusion of the human gesture with the technological apparatus of the digital age may well come to be understood as the benchmark of twenty-first century painting - where a new tradition of mark-making found its foothold and produced an original style that was truly its own.
The artist's exhibition history includes: Still Life 2 at Brigade as well as museum shows at Kunsthaus Erfurt, Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon Housemuseum, National Gallery of Victoria, and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.
Bradley has been the recipient of a Myer Foundation Award, an APGA Research Scholarship, JM Kerley Travelling Scholarship and the VCA Athenaeum Club First Prize.
His work is included in the permanent collections of Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Museum of Contemporary Art Kraków and the Lyon Housemuseum.
Once Twice Exhibition Review
Ry David Bradley: MMXIX
What Next: Ry David Bradley
Immortalising the digital generation in tapestry
Ry David Bradley’s 21th Century