The youngest male artist to have been honoured with a solo show at the Guggenheim in New York, eclectic multi-platform artist Slater Bradley’s recent work created between 2018 and 2020, “The Gates of Many Colors”, and his new series, the “Hypercosmic Temple”, explore the ancient idea of the spiritual pilgrimage and quest for divine knowledge in contemporary terms.
Through uniform, vibrant, acrylic color applied by hand over the negative space of the gates and sky, and the color’s relationship to the vibrational energy centers of the body, the Artist offers the viewer a deeper “seeing” of what lies beyond the gates of Jerusalem. Using a dye sublimation transfer process, digital photographs that Bradley recorded of the gates during the three day period of the winter solstice are enlarged, printed and permanently dyed directly into the fibers of the specialized polyester fabric. Bradley emphasizes the materiality and permanence of this transmuting process by sewing thread across the lower threshold of each painting as a reference to the visible light spectrum, the chakra energy system of the body, and astrological time, stitching together divine narratives from the Genesis story “Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors” to day-to-day contemporary life. The cosmic, spiritualized energy of the Holy City of Jerusalem envelopes the viewer, illuminating the state of one’s being.
You don’t worship the gate, you can go into the inner temple.
— Ram Dass
The spiritual journey through time and space continues in Bradley’s “Hypercosmic Temple” (2021), where we find a recently, partially reconstructed 7th century. B.C.E Grecian Temple dedicated to the Sun God Apollo on the small uninhabited island of Despotiko located in the heart of the Aegean. Framed in brass in the exact measurements of the Golden Rectangle, the twelve small, vertical “shields” depict the resurrected Apollo Temple, painted over in black, blue, gold, silver, and rust colored marker by the Artist, obscuring, or more aptly, shielding some of the restored architectural elements in an allusion to the methodologies of archeology, time and the twelve signs of the Zodiac. Bradley locates us here so that we can meditate on Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, and the Platonic concept of a second, “hypercosmic” sun located beyond our own astronomical sun and the realm of the fixed stars, which is theorized to illuminate the true nature of the world.
Created right before and right after the worldwide lockdown, Bradley’s work on the spiritual quest takes on greater significance. What world lies beyond our cave? Is this reality simply a simulation or a matrix of projection? Where will the rough ascent of consciousness lead us in this new world? For the intuitive Artist, the answers to these mysteries vibrate through the gates and within the temple.