Chris Bradley

Images

  • A yellow banana rests on top of a column made up of three silver paint cans and two bags of ice. 
The bags of ice are sandwiched in between the paint cans.
  • This is a miniature sculpture of a ceiling fan. On three of the fan blades sits three objects: a potted plant, a folded striped linen, and a pool ladder.
A yellow banana rests on top of a column made up of three silver paint cans and two bags of ice. 
The bags of ice are sandwiched in between the paint cans.
Chris Bradley, Stack (Ice Bags, Cans, and Bananas), 2014. Wood, glass, cast bronze, plastic bags, cut vinyl, and paint; 34 × 3 × 18 in. (86.4 × 7.6 × 45.7 cm), Courtesy of the artist and Shane Campbell Gallery.
This is a miniature sculpture of a ceiling fan. On three of the fan blades sits three objects: a potted plant, a folded striped linen, and a pool ladder.
  1. Long This is a miniature sculpture of a ceiling fan. A potted plant sits on top of one of the fan blades, a folded, striped linen sits on top of another, and a pool ladder is affixed to a third dropping below the blade.
Chris Bradley, Untitled (Ceiling Fan), 2015. Steel, wood, enamel, acrylic, pencil, monofilament; 9 × 7 ¾ x 7 ¾ in. (22.9 × 19.7 × 19.7 cm), Courtesy of the artist and Shane Campbell Gallery.
Chris Bradley, Stack (Pretzel Rods) with Night Stand, 2016. Cast bronze, poplar, cherry, paint, and epoxy resin; 70 × 18 × 22 in. Courtesy of the artist and Roberto Paradise. Photo: Robert Chase Heishman and Emily Kay Henson.

About

Sculptor Chris Bradley (American, b. 1982) is interested in the real, everyday things around us that become so commonplace we stop noticing them. Like Warhol, he is attracted to ordinary objects, such as potato chips and pizza boxes. But Bradley examines their multiple associations to transform the objects themselves—like a shape-shifter of sorts. This practice is not unrelated to Salvador Dalí’s paranoiac critical method, in which Dalí linked unrelated objects into a single image, or André Breton’s insistence that the object might morph into multiple significations. For Bradley, the everyday world is a resource used to access what is not apparent at first glance.

This conceptual reading of Bradley’s work also describes his material process. What appear to be throwaway materials, like cardboard boxes and junk food, may actually be painted steel or cast bronze. But since Bradley’s objects are so finely crafted, it is often difficult to tell if you are looking at a commonplace object or its representation. The artist is deeply invested in how things are made, and in the histories and cultural significance of materials. Often described as trompe l’oeil, or a trick of the eye, the precision of representation creates a kind of sculptural illusion. His bags of ice never melt, because the individual pieces of ice are cast glass. His replica key ring grants access to nothing, because the cast is inevitably larger than the original. And his pairings of objects also invoke a tongue-in-cheek humor, as well as point to other artistic influences. For Bradley, the crafting of objects gives rise to the game of looking.

This exhibition is organized by Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow Joey Orr.

The exhibition is presented in the Dr. Paul and Dorie Sternberg Family Gallery and Ed and Jackie Rabin Gallery on the museum’s third floor.

Installation Images

Installation view, Chicago Works: Chris Bradley, MCA Chicago, Jan 17 – Jul 2, 2017. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, Chicago Works: Chris Bradley, MCA Chicago, Jan 17 – Jul 2, 2017. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, Chicago Works: Chris Bradley, MCA Chicago, Jan 17 – Jul 2, 2017. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, Chicago Works: Chris Bradley, MCA Chicago, Jan 17 – Jul 2, 2017. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, Chicago Works: Chris Bradley, MCA Chicago, Jan 17 – Jul 2, 2017. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.

Funding

Generous support for Chicago Works: Chris Bradley is provided by the Sandra and Jack Guthman Chicago Works Exhibition Fund and Melissa Weber and Jay Dandy.