IUPUI Cultural Arts Gallery, IU Art Museum partner to showcase Morton Bradley’s math-inspired art
INDIANAPOLIS — With their brilliant colors and their display of the Harvard University graduate’s understanding of science, Morton C. Bradley’s sculptures are full of life. When viewed, the mathematically inspired creations evoke words such as “crystal,” “kaleidoscope,” “prism” and “snowflake.”
The Cultural Arts Gallery at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, in partnership with the Indiana University Art Museum in Bloomington, invites the IUPUI campus community and the public to view an upcoming exhibit of Bradley’s work.
“Color and Form: Selected Works by Morton C. Bradley Jr.” opens Monday, Jan. 7, and runs through Friday, Jan. 25, at the IUPUI Cultural Arts Gallery in Suite 240 of the IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd. Nine of Bradley’s hanging sculptures and 11 sculptures mounted on pedestals will be on display.
Morton C. “Bob” Bradley, born in 1912, was the visionary behind the geometric sculptures that were created over decades by a workshop of talented artists and engineers. Bradley bequeathed the creations to Indiana University at his death in 2004.
“Bob Bradley’s works represent a complex combination of geometry and color theory,” said Sherry Rouse, curator of campus art at IU Bloomington. “He started simply but grew to love the more complex forms of the stellated dodecahedra and the icosahedra as he worked with his fabricators to create sculptures. Toward the end of his life, he began to experiment with minimal surface sculptures that are delightful to the eye and challenging to the viewer.”
Bradley’s first art pieces were paintings and drawings that were unrelated to the sculptures. His work evolved into an exploration of the Platonic solids and progressed to other polyhedrons, with his designs progressing over the years
Much of Bradley’s inspiration came from traditional two-dimensional patterns from around the world, such as Italian cathedrals and Egyptian and Arabic architecture and textiles. His transformation of the two-dimensional patterns onto multiple intersecting planes resulted in the three-dimensional forms.
Bradley worked as a painting conservator at the Fogg Museum at Harvard and wrote “The Treatment of Pictures,” the 1950 book that remains a historic reference for painting conservators. He was also a researcher and theorist on subjects such as sentence structure, teaching methodology for foreign languages, anthropometry and music theory.
“Morton Bradley was a quiet genius whose accomplishments as an artist deal with great universal ideas,” said Heidi Gealt, director of the IU Art Museum. “It is a genuine pleasure to share Mr. Bradley’s beautiful legacy with Cultural Arts Galley patrons.”
Exhibit activities include a lecture and book signing featuring Lynn Gamwell, a leading author on the intersection of art, mathematics and science. Gamwell is the author of “Color and Form: The Geometric Sculptures of Morton C. Bradley, Jr.,” recently published by IU Press. Gamwell put Bradley’s unique fusion of color, form and mathematical ideas in its historical context in her earlier book, “Exploring the Invisible: Art, Science, and the Spiritual.”
Gamwell’s lecture will take place from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, in Room 450A of the IUPUI Campus Center. The book signing precedes the lecture, from 3 to 4 p.m., in the Barnes & Noble on the first floor of the IUPUI Campus Center.
“Color and Form,” a traveling exhibit previously on view at Indiana University Northwest, is made possible through IU’s Moveable Feast of the Arts Initiative, supported by the Lilly Endowment.
The IUPUI Cultural Arts Gallery is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.