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Bradford J. Salamon
California Heritage Museum, Santa Monica, California
Recommendation by Roberta Carasso

Bradford J. Salamon, “Pink Purse,” oil on canvas, 45 x 40”

This 20 year survey of Bradford J. Salamon’s art showcases his sensitive ability to create portraiture, iconography, narratives, drawings and films. His unique figurative vision melds diverse media, making it challenging to discern which is his primary medium. In the 73 works on view, we get a sense how Salamon searches for ways to convey the profound spirit of the individual subject — be it an individual, a human relationship, or the soul of an object from yesteryear. Creating dynamic portraits of “common objects and uncommon people” — artists, family, friends, and those with haunting faces — Salamon gets us to want to know them better. In each process, Salamon digs deeply, uses unique methods, and holds up a mirror to reveal a given individual, seen as if from their hidden core.


But there is another, more subtle aspect of Salamon’s art, his use of time. Time is the underpinning that enriches the work. In his iconography, Salamon broadens our sense of time by painting vintage objects of the past with a contemporary vision. His depictions of functional, but now discarded technologies, reveal that threads of the past are tied to the present and future. A typewriter, telephone, cigarette lighter, glass milk bottle or shaving brush come alive in his hands. They spark thoughts of design, their creator, how and why they were first conceived, and how these objects, tossed on a junk heap, live on today through their progeny technologies. Salamon makes use of today’s primary time-based medium, the iPhone. The cell phone, with its short films mixed with news and entertainment, is central to this juxtaposition of the past and present. Thus, the temporal energy of Salamon’s art becomes submerged in media, only to resurface with each viewer’s meaningful experience of it.

California Heritage Museum

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