Bradley McCallum (b. 1966, Greenbay, Wisconsin) received his BFA at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1989, and an MFA from Yale University in 1992.
Bradley McCallum’s work focuses on bringing together fine art and social practice. He describes his work as ‘an investigation into individual and collective social memory, responsibility, and actions’. His multifaceted projects reflect upon media representations and social concerns, and are often inspired by American history and the legacies of race in contemporary American culture.
Embedded within the work is the ability to address complicated issues concerning race and power. McCallum’s portraits demand we pay attention to what might lie beneath the surface. For each portrait, he creates one hyper-realistic colour painting and one monochrome painting using grisaille technique.
His large-scale portraits of powerful men, such as Thomas Lubanga Dyilo (founder of a rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo), Nuon Chea (chief ideologist of the Khmer Rouge), and Slobodan Milošević (president of Serbia 1989 to 1997), do not make explicit the violence (rape, murder, ethnic massacre, torture, and slavery) that these men in power often condoned. Instead the portraits have a complex and unsettling effect: the viewer is faced with the presence of the individual being portrayed. Moreover, these paintings testify on behalf of affected communities and challenge the audience to examine truths about the violence, alienation, and inhumanity that underlie many aspects of everyday life.
For EVA International 2016, McCallum will show several ‘reversal’ portraits from the series Weights and Measures, which he created over the past two years. The work explores masculine configurations of power in war, international relations, and militarism. The series comprises oil paintings based on photographic negatives of defendants taken as they appeared before international courts and tribunals.