Exhibition: 26th November – 25th February 2011

Maddox Arts is pleased to present ABSTRACT, a show featuring new work by Julian Wild, William Bradley and Cipriano Martínez. Encompassing painting, sculpture and drawing, this group exhibition shares a language of geometric abstraction in which forms, colours and lines exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. However, the works presented in this show oscillate between theoretical narratives derived from architectural discourses and perceptions of abstract art history. Such narrative is carefully premeditated by each artist and reflected though visually enticing compositions that are abstract but highly referential in content.

William Bradley’s paintings distort art historical references deconstructing the role of abstraction in both modernism and contemporary art practice. Bradley defies previous notions of abstract art history by recycling past formulas from Abstract Expressionist artists such as Rothko, de Kooning and Motherwell. As Vincent Honoré, Director of the David Roberts Art Foundation, claims ‘William Bradley is a perverse Abstract Expressionist.’[1] By employing bold lines, disperse geometric shapes and vibrant colours; Bradley not only questions former appropriations of abstract painting, but also manages to invigorate it. The use of a subversive narrative allows the artist to lead abstraction into a fresher path of innovation adding parody to the past and irony to the present.

Similarly, Julian Wild and Cipriano Martínez construct a narrative in their abstract works, which responds to the architectural spaces that surround them. Wild’s “Seeing Red” and “Indeterminate System” were commissioned and inspired by Leighton House, a remarkable nineteen-century Victorian building situated in Holland Park in Kensington. Decorated with Islamic tiles and gilded ceilings, the interior evokes a compelling vision of the Orient. Wild reflects the western assimilation of eastern decorative practices by employing a western invented technique called Japanning, which consists of varnishing wood in thin pigmented layers to create the effect of oriental lacquer. Wild establishes a dialogue between East and West in his sculptures, reflecting a similar historical connection to the space in which he situates his works.

Martinez’s paintings reveal an interest derived from the urban landscape. In ‘Serial Reconstruction III’ and ‘Serial Reconstruction VII’, Martinez meticulously employs seriality and the repetition of geometrical patterns in order to reconcile the architectural chaos experienced in urban spaces. By restricting his colour palette to black and grey tones, the artist emphasizes a minimal aesthetic in which architectural structures seem to achieve a sense of balance and harmony. Inspired by Le Corbusier’s legacy on Latin American architecture, the artist constructs geometric patterns that explore transformations in the urban tissue. Unlike Bradley’s paintings, Martinez’s deliberately reproduces an illusion of visible reality. In his paintings reminiscences of modern architecture can be appreciated showing a commitment to the logic of perspective. One aspect that draws the work of these artists together is their impersonal approach to abstraction. Wild, Bradley and Martinez detach abstraction from exhausted emotional statements and infuse it with premeditated formal and conceptual narratives leading abstraction into a more complex form of visual expression.

[1] Honore Vicent, An Introduction to the practice of William Bradley, ‘In Between the Gaps’ exhibition catalogue, murmurART, 2010