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Katherine Bradford, Titanic Orange Sea, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 10 x 10".

Katherine Bradford

Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Katherine Bradford, Titanic Orange Sea, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 10 x 10".

New York– and Maine-based painter Katherine Bradford has been active since the 1970s, yet her ambiguously narrative, color-saturated paintings have recently assumed newfound relevance in the context of work by younger artists such as Katherine Bernhardt, Dan McCarthy, and Michael Williams. Considering both career arc and choice of painterly themes, however, Bradford’s closest peer may be Joyce Pensato, who also began eliciting attention relatively late and whose works resonate with Bradford’s cheekily dramatic cartoon-character portraits, which shuffle interestingly close to bathos.

Bradford’s best-known paintings picture a costumed Superman cruising the sky, but “August,” her exhibition at Bowdoin College Museum of Art, curated by Joachim Homann, spotlighted another favored theme: maritime scenes, something critic John Yau called a “minor, masculine genre” in a review of Bradford’s

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