’ Maine artist Katherine Bradford is going like 60 at 80 — Portland Museum of Art


“Flying Lady: The Paintings of Katherine Bradford” (June 25-Sept. 11) capabilities 47 of Bradford’s paintings from 1999 to the current. “Woman Flying,” the 1999 portray that influenced the show’s title, is now in the PMA selection. It depicts a nude, pink-caped girl trying to fly. Which is what Bradford has been undertaking for extra than 40 several years and she has succeeded. At 80, she is likely like 60.

When I 1st satisfied Bradford she was married, residing in Brunswick, and raising twins Arthur and Laura, born in 1969. In 1975, she was a founding member of the Union of Maine Visual Artists with Maury Colton, David Brooks, Natasha Mayers, Stephen and Mark Petroff, Pat Owen, Carlo Pittore, and Abby Shahn.

“The community up here is very lively and I love currently being element of it,” says Bradford, who credits her Maine colleagues with encouraging to launch her job. “The Maine artwork neighborhood is a terrific position to start. It is really open up, democratic, collegial. You can say anything, make any kind of artwork.”

In 1979, Bradford’s massive acrylic collage “The Children’s Playground” was just one of the stars of the All Maine Biennial at the Bowdoin University Museum of Art, the initial of a series of biennial exhibitions of present-day Maine artists. That year Bradford’s marriage ended in divorce and she took her 10-year-outdated twins to New York Metropolis with her as she embarked on a new everyday living.

A 2019 painting entitled “Mother Joins the Circus” (not in the PMA display) depicts a woman, rigid as a board, staying carried by a guy and a female. Only after the actuality did Bradford realize that it might be linked to her pursuit of a New York artwork occupation.

“I just imagined it was a great phrase,” Bradford suggests. “Then I understood, this is what my little ones assumed I did.”

Bradford reinvented, or probably rediscovered herself, as an artist soon after her marriage finished. She went to graduate university, taught, painted, and fell in really like with a girl, all the when raising her twins, just one now an lawyer, the other a writer. She also located a place in which she belonged.

“I was a single of the very first artists to transfer to Brooklyn,” she describes. “In the ‘80s a bunch of us moved to Brooklyn. We supported every other and manufactured friends. I duplicated what I experienced in Maine. Getting aspect of the neighborhood in Brooklyn was critical.”

The important achievement Bradford has had in New York is in part a purpose of her bold, blunt figurative type remaining extra urban than rural.

“The Maine artwork planet is kind of conservative,” Bradford suggests. “I was at a disadvantage since I wasn’t a skillful artist. The farther absent I get from New York, the less respect I get.”


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