Jill Bradley’s (b 1966) installations, drawings and sculptures draw upon aspects of minimalism to express a personal engagement with identity and place. Her interest in site and the creation of new spaces has led to public commissions including most recently Dutch/Light (for Agneta Block) (2017) for Turner Contemporary, Margate, and Opening the Air (2018) for Sculpture in the City, London. Bradley studied at Goldsmiths College and The Slade, London. Bradley lives and works in London and has exhibited in the UK and internationally, including The Drawing Room, London (2015 and 2017) and New Art Centre, Roche Court (2017).
I’m interested in the structures we build to bring light to a place to grow something. For me, the vineyards I visited on my residency are like minimalist sculptures. Economic structure for maximum potential; it’s where the practical meets the mystical. I was fascinated by how each vineyard has its own identity according to grape, soil and aspect. We identify this structure with this place.
Whilst in France I was researching for a new show for The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh. I was looking at orchard culture: the distinct geometry of light and growth in Scotland. I began experimenting with new materials – juxtaposing light reactive dichroic film with natural wood. And I started making models, thinking things through slowly, in three dimensions.
Drawing is important to me. Folding is my way of drawing. The folds create lines, but they also maximise the surface and space of the sheet of paper. I use pigmented carbon paper which I fold, strip back and then spray paint. Like the model making it’s a meditative process.
One of the things I wanted to do during the residency was expand my drawing practice into installation, to think of it as immersive and get it off the wall. I had this beautiful wooden beam across my studio. This gave me the structure to hang, fold and layer drawings through space, something I’d never done before. For this, I focussed on one simple pattern drawn from vernacular architecture, from designs of weather vanes. Working this way I felt I was creating a closer connection between my large-scale outdoor installations and my studio practice. I feel it’s the start of something exciting. The residency was a rich, intense and important time for me.
Jyll Bradley, Launch Pad LaB, Autumn 2018
David Foster, Folkestone Triennial 2014 Review, Artvehicle 67, 2014. Image: Courtesy the Artist. Photograph: Thierry Bal.
Jyll Bradley in conversation with Caroline Collier, Airports for the Lights, Shadows and Particles, Newlyn Art Gallery, UK, 2011.
Liam Gillick, Everyone in Grand Central agog and smiling. All just feeling good... Elective Coupling in the work of Jyll Bradley, 2014. Essay-The friend I have/is a passionate friend, Mummery + Schnelle, London, UK, 2014.