On a clear day, I can usually see all the way to Watts, 2001
Mark Bradford
On a clear day, I can usually see all the way to Watts, 2001
Mixed media on canvas
72 × 84 inches

The Modern - End Papers

Exhibition on Display: March 8, 2020 - January 10, 2021

By: Mark Bradford

Over the past two decades, Mark Bradford has created monumental works of abstract painting and collage. This exhibition focuses on the key material and fundamental motif Bradford employed early in his career and has returned to periodically over the past two decades: end papers.

Bradford’s mature work began with his experimentation with end papers while a student at the California Institute of the Arts in the late 1990s. He had grown up in his mother’s beauty salon, eventually becoming a hairdresser himself, and was therefore quite familiar with the small papers used to protect hair from overheating during the process for permanent waves. Incorporating them into his art was catalytic for Bradford, merging his abstract painting with materials from his life. The thin, delicate sheets are almost translucent and create the effect of soft brushstrokes across the surface of his compositions. Bradford has said, “I learned my own way of constructing paintings through the End Papers—how to create space, how to use color. And how to provide a new kind of content. They were the beginning for me. . . . It all began in the beauty salon.” 

In addition to his use of end papers, Bradford brings the salon into his art in other ways. Some titles are snippets of conversations that took place there or relate to aspects of that environment. For example, Click, 2001, evokes the sound of a curler locking into place. Many of the colors in these works come from hair dyes, such as in 43G Spring Honey, 2001. The artist’s combinations of colors imbue a dynamic quality of movement and create an ethereal depth. Over time, the compositions began to resemble pixelated, aerial maps of greater Los Angeles. Simultaneously, Bradford’s thoughts were evolving toward things he was seeing outside the salon.

Bradford’s End Paper works inspired his later use of “social papers,” such as merchant posters, advertising broadsides, and billboards he found in Los Angeles. By layering these materials, he creates a rich collage of his urban environment. Ultimately, Bradford’s works are as much about place as materials. As Bradford has said, “Art materials are always personal. We make them personal. But they are also connected to something else. In my case, it’s community.”

Bradford continues to extend his reach into his community. In 2013, he (along with philanthropist Eileen Harris Norton and activist Allan DiCastro) established Art + Practice, a nonprofit organization based in the Leimert Park area of LA that provides resources for underprivileged youth while encouraging their creativity. 

This exhibition is organized by the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and curated by Michael Auping, the museum’s former chief curator. Lead exhibition support for Mark Bradford: End Papers is generously provided by the Texas Commission on the Arts. Major support is provided by Hauser & Wirth and the Fort Worth Tourism Public Improvement District, with additional support from Suzanne McFayden.


Cheops, 2018
Marina Adams
Cheops, 2018
Acrylic on linen
98 x 78 in.

The Modern - FOCUS: Marina Adams

Exhibition on Display: November 6, 2020 - January 10, 2021

By: Marina Adams

Contemporary artist Marina Adams will show seven energetic abstract paintings from the past four years that are immersive in scale, as well as recent small gouache works on paper. Adams explores the relationship between color and shape in her acrylic-on-linen paintings, where organic forms of solid color abut and interlock. Her work balances organization and improvisation; she sketches out her compositions before she paints, but there is an immediacy made obvious by loose, confident brushstrokes, where drips and bands of color overlap.

Though abstract, Adams's paintings are rooted in textile design and architecture. As she stated in a Brooklyn Rail interview, "Pattern is a language that crosses boundaries. It offers common ground." As similar patterns have historically been found in far-flung locations not likely to have been in contact, it is clear certain designs are elemental and primal, and in these synchronicities, as she says, "we find how we're alike, as opposed to always thinking about how we're different."

Literature and history also play important roles in Adams's work, especially in her use of referential titles. For example, Cheops, 2018, which is included in this exhibition, refers to the ancient Egyptian pharaoh for whom the Great Pyramid of Giza was built, and the painting's composition echoes pyramidal forms. Such references offer viewers a literary path of entry into her art.

About The Modern Art Museum

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is dedicated to collecting, presenting, and interpreting international developments in post - World War II art in all media and creating a welcoming environment for its public appreciation. The Modern promotes understanding and interest in art and artists through curatorial research and publications, and a variety of educational programs, including lectures, guided tours, classes, and workshops.

The collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is comprised of nearly 3,000 objects, including paintings, sculptures, videos, photographs, and prints. The majority of works in the collection are dated between 1945 and the present. All major, international movements are represented, including Abstract Expressionism; British, German, French, and American Pop; Color Field Painting; Minimalism; Conceptualism; Post-Minimalism; New Image Painting, and Neo - Expressionism. Pop and Minimalism are particularly strong, as is German art of the 1970s and 1980s.

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