Finding humor where two worlds intersect

Review of 'Indian Country: The Art of David Bradley.'

  • El Farol, Canyon Road Cantina, 2000. Bill and Hillary Clinton, Georgia O'Keeffe, Billy Jack, Van Gogh and the artist himself all appear in this painting.

    David Bradley
  • True Grit #2, 2008.

    David Bradley
  • Pueblo Feast Day, 2005.

    David Bradley
  • Vision Quest, Chippewa Sleeping Indian #2, 2007.

    David Bradley
 

Indian Country: The art of David Bradley
Curator: Valerie K. Verzuh
143 pages,
hardcover: $34.95
Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe, 2014

“My art is about my life,” says David Bradley, who was born in Eureka, California, to a white logger father and a mother who was a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. Though his childhood was challenging, his artistic talent blossomed early, and the two years he spent in the Peace Corps in Guatemala introduced him to folk art’s vivid colors and social consciousness. His identity as an artist living in two worlds deepened after he enrolled at the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, in the late 1970s. Bradley’s lively paintings reward close attention, revealing his sense of irony and enough humor to make you laugh out loud. But ultimately, he says, he looks to the land for inspiration: “The landscapes and the earth speak so loudly to me here. If I have a problem, I just step outside and am awed by what I see all around me.”