Lori Bradley • paintings • collage

 "I've never understood the conflict between abstraction and naturalism. Since all paintings are inherently abstract to begin with there doesn't seem to be an argument there."

- Milton Glaser

"Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. Its true life is invisible, hidden in the rhizome. The part that appears above the ground lasts only a single summer. Then it withers away–an ephemeral apparition. When we think of the unending growth and decay of life and civilizations, we cannot escape the impression of absolute nullity. Yet I have never lost the sense of something that lives and endures beneath the eternal flux. What we see is blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains."
- Carl Jung


What I make

I like the simple everyday things that people tend to neglect, or just walk on - sticks, leaves, plants - although these things are not really so simple and have a complex living structure and story of their own.

I make visual art about plants and landscapes, striving to approach these traditional subjects in nontraditional ways. I look for abstractions rooted in the real and stories and allegories buried in the objective. For example, instead of buying frames and attaching them to my art, I often use visual framing as an integral part of the images. Through framing, I explore ideas about reverence and sentimentality. I merge landscape and plants with frames, buildings, and decorative elements such as fabric and wallpaper patterns as they connect with people and places in my life.

I didn't start my art life as a painter. I studied drawing and printmaking and developed a love of line, especially the deliberate attention to line weight found in Asian art and the painterly lines of the abstract expressionists. I paint with acrylics on canvas and wood panels but I also enjoy merging media - paint, prints, and ceramic elements - into highly textured collages. I often work in series and modular sets in which individual images can be arranged in various ways to work with existing architecture.

Why I make it

I'm especially inspired by plant structures that exist underneath the surface - roots and rhizomes. These structures serve as metaphors for elements in my life - loss, memories, temporary hierarchies and branching constants.

In art and life, I'm fascinated by the jittery conflict I see between abstraction and realism, and the simplified geometries imposed on the world by humans - bridges, buildings, frames, etc. - and the complex and "wild" geometry we think nature imposes on us.

My parents encouraged me and my siblings to move as far away from home as soon as possible - to find a home that is truly ours. So, for better or worse, I did this and experimented with life in many different places, but I always longed for my original home where I felt a connection to the land and people based on memory. Now, I sometimes I feel a sense of rootlessness - a floating life - and search for my roots through making art.

And, I'm an unapologetic treehugger. My family loves to walk in forests and there we feel our strongest bonds - tangled yet simple. I worry about loss of irreplaceable old forests, and in my own way, seek to preserve the woods.

- Lori Bradley