Katherine Bradford

Katherine Bradford (b. 1942, New York) paints vibrant canvases that place characters, including mothers, superheroes, and swimmers, in abstract fields of saturated and sumptuous color.

Her buoyant, luminous compositions feature dreamy and otherworldly settings such as outer space or the open sea. Bradford creates these galactic depths by laying down layer after layer of acrylic paint, rubbing or scraping it away—techniques that create texture. Her surfaces therefore appear to glow — “many thin layers of paint [are] inflected [with] small glints of light,” as Bradford has described it.

Bradford’s subjects, which include isolated houses in addition to people in their underwear, often appear vulnerable and exposed. When describing her draw to the nighttime ocean as subject, Bradford explained that it had“everything a painter might need: endless mystery and lack of boundaries, hidden stories and dramatic light.” Steeped in narrative ambiguity, her canvases evoke a certain moody affect. Her figures appear somewhat awkward with economical faces and bodies. Interested in plunging the depths of “who we are, how we fit in…how [we] look and [are] with one another,” as the artist put it, she uses strategies of abstraction and androgyny to explore ideas of self and identity. Bradford’s paintings embrace unknowing, allowing the viewer to feel their way through painted expanses both fantastical and entirely familiar.

Artist: Studio

“I don’t paint from observation. My human beings are closely related to the paint they’re made of. And they’re invented. I guess you can tell that because I take liberties with their anatomy.”


Katherine Bradford,

Frieze Swimmers,


Acrylic on canvas,

60 × 96 in (152.4 × 243.84 cm)

Katherine Bradford,

Arms and the Sea,


68 × 80 in (172.72 × 203.2 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Katherine Bradford,

Low Tide Harpswell,


Acrylic on canvas,

60 × 48 in (152.4 × 121.92 cm)

Katherine Bradford,

In the Lake,


80 × 136 in (203.2 × 345.44 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Katherine Bradford,

Carry Painting, Wounded,


68 × 80 in (172.72 × 203.2 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Katherine Bradford,

Women Under the Stars,


72 × 60 in (182.88 × 152.4 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Katherine Bradford,

Under My House,


80 × 68 in (203.2 × 172.72 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Katherine Bradford,

Family Reunion,


80 × 68 in (203.2 × 172.72 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Katherine Bradford,

Four Elders Talking,


80 × 68 in (203.2 × 172.72 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Katherine Bradford,

Ceremony on the River,


72 × 60 in (182.88 × 152.4 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Katherine Bradford,



80 × 68 in (203.2 × 172.72 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Katherine Bradford,

Mother Joins the Circus - Second Version,


60 × 72 in (152.4 × 182.88 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Katherine Bradford,

Mother's Lap,


80 × 68 in (203.2 × 172.72 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Katherine Bradford,

Fear of Dark,


80 × 68 in (203.2 × 172.72 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Katherine Bradford,

Ensemble Swim, Moon Sinks,


14 × 18 in (35.56 × 45.72 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Katherine Bradford,



68 × 80 in (172.72 × 203.2 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Katherine Bradford,

Waiting Room,


80 × 136 in (203.2 × 345.44 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Katherine Bradford,

Water Lady,


80 × 68 in (203.2 × 172.72 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Katherine Bradford,

Couples Swim,


20 × 17 ⅛ in (50.8 × 43.4975 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Katherine Bradford,

Fear of Waves,


84 × 72 in (213.36 × 182.88 cm)

Oil on canvas

Katherine Bradford,

Blue Swimmers,


60 × 48 in (152.4 × 121.92 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Katherine Bradford,

Under the Covers,


20 × 20 in (50.8 × 50.8 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Katherine Bradford,

Red Studio Brooklyn,


68 × 80 in (172.72 × 203.2 cm)

Acrylic on canvas

Installation Views

Installation View, American Odyssey, Halle für Kunst Steiermark, Graz, Austria, 2024


Katherine Bradford, Arms and the Sea, Nov 1 – Dec 22, 2023
Katherine Bradford, Shell Seekers, May 14 – Jun 26, 2022
Katherine Bradford, Mother Paintings, Apr 15 – May 15, 2021
Katherine Bradford, With love, from Maine, Aug 11 – Sep 12, 2020
Katherine Bradford, Friends and Strangers, Sep 14 – Oct 21, 2018
Katherine Bradford, Fear of Waves, Jan 9 – Feb 14, 2016


Katherine Bradford
Paintings, 2018


Hakim Bishara, “Katherine Bradford Is Just Getting Started”, Hyperallergic, June 5

Christian Egger "Medusa's Popcorn", Spike Art Magazine, April 11, 2024

Wallace Ludel "Katherine Bradford." Artforum February 1, 2024

Karen Wilkin "At the Galleries." The Hudson Review Winter 2024

Jason Drill "Katherine Bradford: Arms and the Sea." The Brooklyn Rail December 8, 2023

Hrag Vartanian "12 Art Shows to See in New York This December." Hyperallergic December 1, 2023

Rick Briggs "Katherine Bradford: Heaven on Earth." Two Coats of Paint November 18, 2023

Jenna Crowder "A Sit Down with Artist Katherine Bradford." Decor Maine June 9, 2023

Margo Vansynghel "6 colorful Seattle art shows for spring." The Seattle Times March 29, 2023

Brangien Davis "ArtSEA: Northwest art blooms abstract for the spring equinox." Crosscut March 16, 2023

Daniel Gerwin "Katherine Bradford Sees Mothers and Children in Paint." Frieze March 9, 2023

Jerald Pierce "8 Puget Sound-area museums all art lovers must visit." The Seattle Times February 16, 2023

Gavin Borchert "A Maine event at the Frye." Crosscut February 8, 2023

Anselm Berrigan "On Katherine Bradford." The Brooklyn Rail February 2023

Hrag Vartanian "The Top 50 Exhibitions of 2022." Hyperallergic December 27, 2022

Jacoba Urist "This Year’s Art Basel Miami Beach Sales Records Tell Us What to Expect in 2023." Cultured December 2, 2022

Brett Sokol "Masks Off, Wallets Out: Art Basel 2022." New York Times December 1, 2022

Hrag Vartanian "The Vulnerable Painterly Worlds of Katherine Bradford." Hyperallergic September 8, 2022

KK Kozik "Flying Woman: The Paintings of Katherine Bradford." The Brooklyn Rail August 26, 2022

Franklin Einspruch "Heroes forever and ever." The New Criterion August 23, 2022

Paul Laster "The 10 Best Art Exhibitions to See Around the World This Summer." Galerie August 1, 2022

Laura van Straaten "Katherine Bradford’s Long and Winding Road." W Magazine July 20, 2022

Gillian Brassil "A Summer Capsule Collection Inspired by an Italian Getaway." New York Times Style Magazine June 30, 2022

Edgar Allen Beem "‘Woman Flying:’ Maine artist Katherine Bradford is going like 60 at 80." The Portland Phoenix June 22, 2022

Murray Whyte "Painter Katherine Bradford and Weaver Diedrick Brackens Pair up in Exhibition at Harvard's Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts."The Boston Globe December 9, 2021

Nahal Amouzadeh "New Public Artworks By Katherine Bradford, Marcel Dzama Invigorate Two L Train Subway Stations." All Arts October 13, 2021

Dana Schulz "MTA Unveils Colorful New Subway Mosaics at Bedford and 1st Avenue L Train Stations." 6sqft September 24, 2021

Valentina Di Liscia "Katherine Bradford Mosaic Murals Make a Manhattan Subway Station Shine." Hyperallergic September 23, 2021

Nell Porter Brown "Reflections of Pandemic Intimacy." Harvard Magazine September-October 2021

"DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum Awards 22nd Rappaport Prize to Artist Katherine Bradford." ArtfixDaily August 23, 2021

Murray Whyte "Katherine Bradford, painter with Maine ties, wins Rappaport Prize." The Boston Globe August 22, 2021

Jorge S. Arango "Art review: Incisive photography, empowering beach paintings and rubber works, all in Rockland." Portland Press Herald August 22, 2021

Jared Quinton "Katherine Bradford: Philosopher's Clambake." The Brooklyn Rail June 2021

Ryan Syrell "The Lungdeep Breath of Loving: Katherine Bradford's Mother Paintings at Canada." Bmore Art May 17, 2021

David Cohen "Good Enough: Katherine Bradford's Mother Paintings at Canada." artcritical May 14, 2021

Justin Kamp "Katherine Bradford Tackles Motherhood With 'Mother Paintings' at Canada Gallery." Observer May 10, 2021

Jacob Patrick Brooks "Katherine Bradford: Consoled and consoler." Two Coats of Paint May 7, 2021

John Yau "Katherine Bradford’s Joy and Grief." Hyperallergic May 1, 2021

Lucy Hunter "Katherine Bradford Mother Paintings." TheGuide.Art May 1, 2021

Wallace Ludel "Three Exhibitions to See in New York this weekend: From David Smith at Hauser & Wirth to Katherine Bradford at Canada." The Art Newspaper April 29, 2021

Johanna Fateman "ART | Katherine Bradford." The New Yorker September 7, 2020

"Katherine Bradford, With Love, From Maine." The Guide.Art August 13, 2020

Alfred Mac Adam "Painting the Essential." The Brooklyn Rail June 1, 2020

M.H. Miller "The T List: Five Things We Recommend This Week." The New York Times May 21, 2020

Johanna Fateman "Katherine Bradford, Hulda Guzmán, Rebecca Ness." The New Yorker January 25, 2020

Rosie Osborne "Katherine Bradford." Rosie Osborne January 1, 2020

Andrew Hunt "Katherine Bradford." Artforum October 1, 2019

Loney Abrams ""I'm not going to fool around": An Interview with Painter Katherine Bradford." Artspace July 12, 2019

Maria Vogel "Katherine Bradford Embraces an Unconstrained Practice." Art of Choice May 30, 2019

Will Heinrich "What to See in New York Art Galleries Right Now, 'The World According To'." The New York Times March 15, 2019

Shira Wolfe "Lost (and Found) Artist Series: Katherine Bradford." Artland January 2019

Anna Ehrsam "Katherine Bradford: Friends and Strangers." Youtube November 4, 2018

Dennis Kardon "Subtle Ambiguities: Katherine Bradford at CANADA." ArtCritical October 12, 2018

Christina McCausland "(Dis)Connections: Katherine Bradford at CANADA." Columbia Journal October 10, 2018

"Katherine Bradford, "Friends and Strangers"." Time Out October 6, 2018

Lilly Wei "Katherine Bradford: Friends and Strangers." The Brooklyn Rail October 3, 2018

James Kalm "“Friends and Strangers”." Youtube October 1, 2018

John Yau "The Amazing Katherine Bradford." Hyperallergic September 30, 2018

Jason Andrew "Katherine Bradford: Deep image painting." Two Coats of Paint September 21, 2018

Zachary Small "Looking at Queer Constellations of Intimacy." Hyperallergic August 20, 2018

Paul Mazier "Katherine Bradford’s luminous nocturnes." Oregon Arts Watch May 21, 2018

Kate Brown "As the First Edition of Art Düsseldorf Opens, Will it Be a Game Changer in the German Art Market?." Artnet November 17, 2017

Christopher Crosby "8 Emerging Contemporary Artists From Maine to Know." The Culture Tap November 13, 2017

Allie Biswas "Wonderful Worlds." Glass Magazine Summer 124-129

Julie L. Belcove "Katherine Bradford." Elle Decor June 58-60

Katherine McMahon "Habitat: Fair Thee Well: Visits With Artists in Their Studios Before Independent New York." ArtNews March 2, 2017

"Katherine Bradford." The New Yorker January 2017

Samuel Jablon "Katherine Bradford by Samuel Jablon." BOMB Magazine October 12, 2016

Randy Cohen "Episode 147: Katherine Bradford." Person Place Thing October 5, 2016

Caroline Wells Chandler "On Katherine Bradford." Painters on Paintings October 3, 2016

Tim Teeman "How Women Really See Men: A Survey of 'The Female Gaze' in Art." The Daily Beast August 8, 2016

"Make Painting Great Again." The New Yorker June 29, 2016

Andrew Nunes "CANADA is Making Painting Great Again." The Creators Project: Vice Magazine June 22, 2016

Jerry Saltz "I Love Canada’s 17-Artist State-of-the-Medium Spectacle ‘Make Painting Great Again.’ It Also Makes Me Worry for the Fate of the Lower East Side...." Vulture June 14, 2016

Jennifer Coates "The Goo of Paint, How Every Mark Matters." Modern Painters June/July

Nim Wunnan "Katherine Bradford: We Float and Dream." Oregon ArtsWatch Archives May 20, 2016

Arthur Bradford "How About a Little Badass Inspiration?." Medium April 20, 2016

Faye Hirsch "Katherine Bradford at CANADA." Art in America April 111-112

Steven Zevitas "16 Artists to Watch 2016 (+2)." New American Paintings February 2016

Susan Dunn "Female Artists Take on ‘A New Subjectivity’ at Wesleyan." Hartford Current February 5, 2016

Hearne Peardee "Katherine Bradford Fear of Waves." Brooklyn Rail February 3, 2016

James Panero "Gallery Chronicle." The New Criterion February 1, 2016

James Kalm "Katherine Bradford ‘Fear of Waves’ at CANADA." Youtube January 31, 2016

Ryan Steadman "Diving into Katherine Bradford's Paintings at CANADA." The New York Observer January 26, 2016

"Katherine Bradford's Opening at CANADA." ArtCritical January 20, 2016

Sharon Butler "Starry Night: Katherine Bradford at CANADA." Two Coats of Paint January 20, 2016

John Yau "Review: Katherine Bradford Dives In." Hyperallergic January 17, 2016

Elaine Sexton "A Feeling of Luminosity: A Micro-Interview with Katherine Bradford." Tupelo Quarterly February 2016

Jennifer Coates "Katherine Bradford, Fear of Waves." TimeOut January 10, 2016

Benjamin Sutton "Making Sense of Paintings That Tell Snippets of Stories." Hyperallergic April 15, 2015

Steven Zevitas "15 Artists to Watch in 2015 (+ 3)." Huffington Post December 16, 2014

"Interview of Katherine Bradford." artfridge December 15, 2014

"Portfolio by Katherine Bradford." BOMB Magazine Summer

James Kalm "’The Triumph of Human Painting’ Curated by Katherine Bradford at BULL AND RAM." Youtube February 24, 2014

Ken Johnson "The Age of Small Things." The New York Times February 7, 2014

Roberta Smith "Art, a Balm After the Storm." The New York Times December 6, 2013

David Cohen "Art Critical Pick

Nick Stillman "Katherine Bradford: Bowdoin College Museum Of Art." Artforum October 2013

Carl Little "Katherine Bradford." Art New England, September-October

John Yau "Katherine Bradford and the Bigger Picture." Hyperallergic August 25, 2013

Robert Berlind "Katherine Bradford." Art In America October 2012

Whitney Kimball "FOUR SHOWS: NYC." New American Paintings September 21, 2012

David Cohen "New Hero: Katherine Bradford at Edward Thorp." artcritical May 23, 2012

Ken Johnson "Katherine Bradford: ‘New Work’." The New York Times May 3, 2012

Peter Plagens "On Supermen and Airships." Hyperallergic April 22, 2012

Jason Stopa "KATHERINE BRADFORD with Jason Stopa." The Brooklyn Rail April 2012

John Yau "No More Garden Variety Avant-Garde Has-Beens." Hyperallergic April 22, 2012

Jason Stopa "In Conversation: Jason Stopa Interviews Katherine Bradford." NYArts Summer, 2011

Howard Foster "Talk Show at Edward Thorp Gallery." Romanov Grave September 11, 2010

Lisa Dorrill "Between Representation and Abstraction: Magic and Whimsy in the Works of Katherine Bradford." The Gettysburg Review Summer, 2010

Molly Birmbaum "Review Katherine Bradford at Edward Thorp." ARTnews Summer, 2007

Johnson "Art Listings." The New York Times July 7, 2007

John Yau "Katherine Bradford By Life & By Land, Recent Paintings." The Brooklyn Rail June 2007

Mario Naves "Everywhichway." The New York Observer July 24, 2006

Ken Johnson "Everywhichway." The New York Times July 7, 2006

Stephen Maine "Ether Nights at Sarah Bowen Gallery." Artnet February 1, 2005

James Kalm "Katherine Bradford." Brooklyn Rail February, 2005

Dominick D. Lombardi "Inaugural exhibition for Gallery in Beacon." The New York Times April 22, 2001

Lee Fleming "Nothing but the Best." The Washington Post February 2, 1994

Eileen Myles "Katherine Bradford at David Beitzel Gallery." Art in America June, 1993

Viven Raynor "Grappling with Feminism and Femininity." The New York Times March 21, 1993

Alan Artner "Through A Child’s Eyes." Chicago Tribune August 10, 1992

Stephen Westfall "Katherine Bradford." Art in America May, 1990

David Carrier "Katherine Bradford." Art International Spring, 1990

Phyllis Braff "In the Choices of Albee, Imagination Prevails." The New York Times February 11, 1990

Peggy Cyphers "Katherine Bradford." Arts Magazine January, 1990

Roberta Smith "Roberta Smith, “Katherine Bradford”, The New York Times, October 27." The New York Times October 27, 1989

Robert Taylor "DeCordova Summer Show Has Questing Spirit." The Boston Globe July 16, 1989

David Bonetti "Review." The Boston Phoenix July 7, 1989


Katherine Bradford

b. 1942, New York, NY

Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY

  • Education

    • 1988

      MFA, State University of New York, Purchase, NY

    • 1964

      BA, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA

  • Selected Solo Person Exhibitions

    • 2024

      Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (forthcoming)

      Kaufmann Repetto, Milan, Italy (forthcoming)

      Sky Swimmers, Kunsthalle Emden, Emden, Germany

      Gertrude Stein and Superman, Haverkampf Leistenschneider Gallery, Berlin, Germany

      American Odyssey, Halle für Kunst Graz, Graz, Austria

    • 2023

      Arms and the Sea, CANADA, New York, NY

      Fear of Shoes, Kunstmuseum Schloss Derneburg, Derneburg, Germany

      Les saltimbanques, Campoli Presti, Paris, France

    • 2022

      Two Person Show with Sedrick Chisom, Matthew Brown, Los Angeles, CA

      Flying Woman: Katherine Bradford Paintings 1999-2021, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME (traveled to Frye Museum, Seattle, WA)

      Night Swimmers, Tomio Koyama, Tokyo, Japan

      Shell Seekers, CANADA East Hampton, East Hampton, NY

    • 2021

      Mother Paintings, CANADA, New York, NY

      Diedrick Brackens & Katherine Bradford, Cambridge, MA
      Swimmers and Lifeguards, Kaufman Repetto, Milan, Italy

      Philosophers’ Clambake, Hall Art Foundation, Reading, VT

      Solo Presentation 34 Bourdon Street, Campoli Presti, London, United Kingdom

    • 2020

      Mother Joins the Circus, Adams and Ollman, Portland, OR

      With love From Maine, CANADA, New York, NY

    • 2019

      Stripes and Legs, Campoli Presti, London, United Kingdom

      Artists, Cops and Circus People, Campoli Presti, Paris, France