The artist Jen Bradley’s life changed in 1994 when she visited the Franklin Park Zoo to observe and record primate behavior for her biological anthropology class in her senior year at Mass. College of Art and Design. She found that the most intuitive way for her to do that was by drawing the gorillas.
The gorillas were purely conscious; their emotions seemed to flow through the glass to Bradley. This compelled her to return to draw them, at first every week and then a few days every month, for more than 25 years. She refers to this ongoing series and practice as The Ape Drawing Project. Bradley takes her drawings back to her studio to use as a reference for her expressionist paintings.
Bradley, a Boston native, received a B.F.A from Massachusetts College of Art, and she is the Artist in Residence at Zoo New England. She lives between Provincetown, Boston and Bridgton, Maine. She was a fellow at the St. Botolph Club and has been awarded many residencies. Her work has been exhibited at Boston University, Walker Contemporary and Arnot Museum in Elmira, N.Y., among many other places. Bradley is represented by The Schoolhouse Gallery, Provincetown. All of Bradley’s gorilla observations, and the emotions they evoke, become part of her paintings, which are included in various public and private collections worldwide.