Morton C. Bradley Jr. was not an artist who suffered from uncertainty about the direction of his work. He continuously generated new concepts for sculptures and was eager to see them realized. He shared his prolific vision with several highly skilled assistants, whose specialized talents made the realization of his vision possible.
Joseph Parker met Bradley in 1966 and assisted him in the design and fabrication of his earliest works, combining Bradley’s interest in color and pattern with the new terrain of three-dimensional geometric form. He witnessed Bradley’s advancement from relief pieces with applied geometric patterns to platonic solids and increasingly complex forms. Parker oversaw the making of tools and steel rule dies used to make parts for sculptures, and he developed assembly techniques. In the late 1970s, Parker went on to work independently as a designer. He admired Bradley greatly, and the two remained in contact. Parker worked on several more Bradley sculptures over the years, including one of the last, completed in 2003.
Linda Priest began fabricating and painting Bradley’s sculptures in 1968. With her background as a metalsmith and jewelry maker, Priest had a rare talent for visualizing complex three-dimensional forms. From Bradley’s brief conceptual explanation of a future work, she could intuitively render the form with remarkable precision, without first needing to calculate its mathematical framework. From Bradley’s instructions, Priest made the majority of sketches and mock-ups, and fabricated many finished sculptures. She painted nearly all of Bradley’s work, creating custom brushes to reach into their intricate structures. Since Bradley’s death, Priest’s records and memories of each sculpture have been extremely important in understanding his work.
Louis Rosenblum met Bradley in 1953. The two shared a number of interests, and beginning in 1966 Rosenblum applied his skills as a mathematician to help Bradley determine the exact measurements for sculpture parts, angles, and colors. Rosenblum enjoyed assisting in planning the production of sculptures. A meticulous record keeper, he also documented sculpture specifications and collected information for and about Bradley’s exhibitions. Beginning in 1987, Rosenblum consulted for Bradley less frequently, but he remains to this day an enthusiastic supporter of the artist’s work.
Harald Robinson’s expertise as a machinist was important in the process of translating Bradley’s ideas into physical sculptures. Beginning in 1978, Robinson assisted Bradley in solving the various engineering, spatial, and mathematical challenges that are inherent in geometric forms made of hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of parts that meet at fine points or tight angles, requiring perfect accuracy. Robinson fabricated sculptures as well as the tools required to make these demanding forms. His diverse knowledge, interests, and experience were crucial to the successful execution of some of Bradley’s most complex works. His memories of the fabrication process help us to see beyond a sculpture’s beauty to the technical achievement it represents.