Time and Terrain

Blowing Rock Art and History
Blowing Rock, NC
August 2016

The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM) is excited to announce the opening of “Elizabeth Bradford: Time + Terrain”, curated by Carla Hanzal. The exhibition will be on view from August 13 to November 19, 2016, with an opening reception on Thursday, September 1st from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Museum. 

“What an honor to be hosting the paintings of Elizabeth Bradford,” states Lee Carol Giduz, Executive Director at the Museum. “Viewing her work is a conversation with nature. At a distance, the scene appears before you as through an open window and draws you in, while up close, you experience the intricate details, dramatic colors, and the many qualities of brushstrokes. What unfolds are stories of the layered and delicate beauty of our natural world.”

Elizabeth Bradford gleans images from the rural landscape surrounding her family’s ancestral farm in northern Mecklenburg County, where she lives. The expanded scope of her artwork also includes impressions of countries she explores, as well as the wilderness where she kayaks, hikes, and camps. “Slowly, over time, my attention turned to wild places,” explains Bradford. “I found myself breathing deep sighs of relief when I stepped out of civilization and into the forest … I have come to believe that I am now painting the permanent—that wildness will never be fully controlled.”

Hanzal adds, “While the natural terrain is mutable—affected by seasons, weather conditions, and light—human interventions also significantly impact its evolution as global temperatures rise and untrammeled habitat is developed. Bradford’s paintings both eulogize what is being lost, and offer glimpses of the untamable existing beyond control.” Bradford constructs complex compositions, utilizing precise layers of color and dynamic mark-making to evoke form, light, and shadow. Bradford compares her paintings to the tessera in a mosaic or the pixels of a photograph, fracturing the image into its component parts, which then coalesce into a whole. Her paintings invite contemplation of the familiar and the lovely within a natural setting, but the uncanny of the unknown and the mysterious also beckon. 

“Elizabeth Bradford: Time + Terrain” invites the viewer to study the natural world, to explore it deeply. The exhibition includes 40 paintings of various scale—some large and encompassing, and others that are more intimately scaled, all reflecting her naturalist’s sensibilities. Revealing her recent investigations with sites in the Southeast, several paintings are borrowed from museums within North Carolina, where her paintings have been selected for permanent collections. Time + Terrain explores, in part, the historical continuum of the region’s natural environment serving as an essential source of inspiration. Bradford’s eloquent writings chronicling her various insights and observations are incorporated into the exhibition and accompanying hardcover catalogue. The full-color, 64-page catalogue features an interview between Bradford and the curator, Carla Hanzal.

The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum is located at the corner of Main & Chestnut Street in downtown Blowing Rock, NC. The Museum opened in 2011. “Elizabeth Bradford: Time + Terrain” is presented by Wells Fargo Private Bank.

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