Julian Bradley studied abroad at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he encountered a range of life changing experiences. Bradley's response has been an ongoing series of paintings numbering almost 100, portraying the Kafkaesque world in which the artist found himself; on the surface the paintings seem idyllic, preserving the childlike excitement of experiencing California for the first time; beautiful weather, coastal redwood forests, perfect teeth, 'have a great day'. But things are not as they first appear, and dark undertones are always present, making reference to themes such as surveillance, police harassment, interrogation, paranoia, humiliation and suicide.
Wish You Were Here is a selection of 36 paintings forming a narrative and presented as a video installation.
Events are depicted using the artist’s distinctive colour palette and film noir composition. Bradley makes full use of titles, which twist meanings and jar with the image. The soundtrack consists of recordings made on the UCSC campus, bringing to life the reality of the predicaments he and others faced. Sounds echo titles, and the viewer finds himself in an isolated world of phone trees, voicemails, and automated messages, where nobody seems to be in.
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