There is a split in Bradley Gay’s work between the color-laden, tumultuous pieces and the black and white imagery that seems to represent time standing still—a pause, a silent protest. Each piece represents a conglomeration of internalized experiences spanning days or even weeks. Often inspired by social, political, personal, or natural catastrophes, his work can range from a struggle with family illness to a criticism of military intervention a world away. Even memory is subject to examination, Gay says, pointing to a fixation on the “repressed memories of yesteryear.”
When Gay sits down to paint, he allows himself to be led by a remarkable series of contradictions and cancellations that ultimately coalesce into a coherent image. “Form is drawn from organized unfamiliarity,” Gay says. “Precision is followed by destruction.” If his loud colorful paintings represent the explosion, then the desaturated pieces form the silent aftermath. The world, with all its unending trauma and joy, provides a steady stream of material. And yet “without imagination,” Gay says, “reality becomes sterility.”
Bradley Gay currently works and resides in Washington, DC.