Paintings by Bradley Hankey
June 14 - July 12, 2014
Skidmore Contemporary Art
2525 Michigan Avenue, D-2
Santa Monica, California 90404 USA
Saturday, June 14
5pm - 7pm
About these paintings:
I am inspired by the unique quality of light and color in Los Angeles. The light in Los Angeles is different from other parts of the country – at certain times of the day, the landscape almost seems to glow. The blue, blue sky and warm sun lend a bright, colorful palette to every day life. I am constantly seeing images in the world around me that could be paintings, almost as if my eye is a camera, constantly taking snapshots. I am fascinated by our landscape of palm trees and telephone poles; our strip-mall architecture that creates broad, flat planes of color and light; the contrast between man and nature.
My paintings begin as photographs taken with my smartphone. I apply a filter to these images, changing the light in a way that feels similar to a vintage photograph. The altered image evokes the presence of a memory. I then upload these images to the social media site Instagram. The hashtags I use when I post the photographs online remain as the titles of the paintings. All photographs on Instagram are square in shape, and thus my paintings in this series maintain that format.
The filtered images, precursors to my paintings, lend themselves to the painterly style I am exploring: the brush loaded with paint, the wood panel with texture, the composition with color and light. I begin by coating the panel with gesso and preparing it for the drawing, creating the drawing from the printed photograph. I then mix colors and begin to paint. I find this process rewarding - transforming a snapshot, something that took seconds to record and post online, into a painting, an older and more traditional medium that is much more involved. A photograph can be reproduced an unlimited number of times, but a painting is an original, and cannot be reproduced, even by the artist. The drawing, the time spent mixing paint, the colors, the texture, the emotions involved when painting – these are singular events that exist only in the painting. Transforming these brief moments of beauty through the medium of oil paint helps me make sense of the undeniable, mysterious allure of Los Angeles, an air-brushed Eden, that has captivated the imagination of generations of artists, and continues to inspire and inform my work.