William Bradley & Mark Selby: Work Hard, Play Hard

20 November 2014 - 24 January 2015

BERLONI is proud to present a dual exhibition between painter William Bradley and Sculptor Mark Selby.

The project is cross disciplinary in nature, linking the painting and sculpture of both artists - though,  beyond their differing choice of discipline, there is a mutual interest in the legacies of Modernism, the use of parody as a form of critique or investigation and an interest in 'material' craft. 

Central to the exhibition is an active sculpture; a machine which throughout the duration will change and reform Bradley's paintings on aluminum. Through water and heat, melting and scraping, Bradley's oil to metal gestures will be broken down day by day through Selby's automotive construction. 


Pertinent to the collaborational methodology is the use of 'play'; be that in the testing of abstract shape in the work of Bradley or via the re-interpretation of objects associated with acts or forms of playing in Selby's sculptures. In considering the serious ambitions of Modernism and Abstraction, the conceptual stringency and formal aesthetic strategies that both artists investigate, it can be forgotten that they each rely upon moments of playfulness when confronted with material or idea. Art production can become confined through building a rigid framework for engaging with ideas, a set 'practice', but through re-engaging with playful activity, an artist can test, experiment and explore the boundaries once again. 

Untitling Machine, is a humorous dual between the disciplines of painting and sculpture, a game that ends with no winner but the production of hybrids. The title of the exhibition itself suggests a collaborative body of work that has been developed to lampoon the kind of macho, elitist and corporate cultures that blindly subsume play as a form of increasing productivity though the encouragement of meaningless excess. Mock modernist sculptural spheres blatantly reference lowly gobstoppers; a boat constructed with a toy-like windmill for a sail loses all function; and paintings as product are reversed through the kinetic machine, to their primed state with paint stripper, the excess stored and bottled. 


The artists duet can be seen as a playful methodology. As Bradley and Selby have developed and defined rules through their process of exchange (be that verbal or through making), the alliance can be seen to form a game-like structure - a space in which conventions of their practice can be suspended in order for discovery to occur. The collaboration and exhibition will attempt to show the complex relationship between the two artists and their disciplines defined through the role of 'playing' - from collision to appreciation, both mischievous and critical.



William Bradley (b. 1984) graduated with a Masters degree from Wimbledon College of the University of the Arts London in 2008 and has since been selected for FutureMap 08 and the Catlin Art prize 2009 and 2011 and recently the inaugural 68Projects residency in Berlin. His work is included in the University of the Arts, London collection, the Nelimarkka Foundation and several major private collections.The artist currently lives and works in London and Yorkshire.

Mark Selby (b.1981) studied at Nottingham Trent University and Wimbledon College of Art, receiving the 2008 Clifford Chance/UAL Sculpture Award on graduation. Recent exhibitions include, Rescue Kite, The Institute of Jamais Vu, London, Speaking Space, Collyer Bristow Gallery (curated by Day+Gluckman) & Warehouse of Failed Invention, Mascalls Gallery. He has been awarded Arts Council funding for curatorial projects Coming Out of the Woodwork, Bow Arts Trust and Product Placement, Angus Hughes Gallery and was selected for residency at Nordic Artists Centre Dale, Norway in 2012. He is currently studying an Mphil by practice at the Royal College of Art alongside his position as a lecturer at the University for the Creative Arts.