Who would have thought that the material usually used to wrap up works of art would become art itself?
It’s true, extraordinary copies of classic paintings are being made with bubble wrap.
They are the result of a time-consuming and complex process thought up by New York based artist Bradley Hart. A classically trained painter, he uses ordinary syringes to inject each bubble with paint, turning the bubbles into pixel-like entities.
“The idea originally to use bubble wrap in art came from an experience with a bunch of overzealous security guards. As well as a left over roll of bubble wrap from my first solo exhibition in 2009 in Manhattan,” said Hart.
“I’m sitting there and I’m looking at it and I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God, that’s it.’ And I know that it’s an idea that wasn’t 100 percent new, to play with the idea of the culture trope of whether or not one should touch art. Because that’s what the art began as. They didn’t start as paintings or the sculptures they are moving into, it actually began as a sculpture of just a roll of bubble wrap and playing with the idea that should you touch the art or not.”
Each piece takes about 150 hours to make, without counting the time it takes to load the paint into the syringes.
Hart says bubble wrap references the plastic nature and pixilated landscape of the current world, the injections being a metaphor for the ways we punctuate our lives with Google searches, selfies and Facebook posts: “We’re into pixels. So what you are actually seeing is a representation of something in a digital form. So for me, I like bringing high-tech back down to low-tech. So hence it’s all very labour (intensive), it’s done by hand. I inject computer technology in our times and then I dumb it down.”
Each artwork has its own so-called ‘Impression’ – a canvas made of the paint that dripped down the back of the bubble wrap to create a rain-washed like version of the portrait.
There are also sculptures made from paint drippings which Hart stores in a custom-made cabinet.
‘The Masters Interpreted: Injections & Impressions’ by Bradley Hart is on show at the Cavalier Galleries in New York in May.