The choices of what Bracey uses to appropriate for his new paintings are taken out of his hands and instead he responds to the choices of the un-named author(s) of the 1961 book. This lack of choice by Bracey can be seen to extend beyond his own taste, but also highlights other choices made: an almost complete lack of female artists; a narrowing of a geographical spread as the book moves to the present; displaying a wide range of art – painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, costume, architecture; a conforming to the Western canon of art. This is set against Bracey’s decision to restrict his choice of parasitic marks to the triangular structures.
ReconFigure Paintings is an on-going series of work where Bracey primarily works on reproductions of oil paintings, each varying in style, period and type of figuration – that have been worked over with geometric/crystalline paintwork. The triangle is used as the simplest shape that can create a complex structure. The eye alternates between his contemporary addition and the background of the original, something that is usually sidelined by the dominant figure. Despite a consistency of rules adopted when painting, each work takes on its own unique character and has the potential to alter the viewers’ perception of the original source.
The artist’s intention is to strip the subject of the work back to painting itself; by appropriating masterpieces and some lesser-known from the medium’s past in order to create new works, he is simultaneously challenging, applauding and being daunted by them. The size of each original ReconFigure Painting correlates with different forms of reproductions sourced from gallery shops such as postcards, prints and pages from catalogues. Within his work Bracey questions the role of the original, the reproduction (in print, online or in a catalogue for example) and exhibition display.