Dove Bradshaw, born in New York in 1949, pioneered the use of Indeterminacy in 1969 by enlisting the unpredictable effects of time, weather, erosion, and indoor and outdoor atmospheric conditions on natural, chemical, and manufactured materials. She has created chemical paintings that change with the atmosphere; indoor erosion sculptures of salt and outdoor stone sculptures that weather. She has worked with crystals that receive radio transmissions from local, short wave, and weather stations, along with reception of radio telescope signals from Jupiter. In 1975 she was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant; 1985 the Pollock-Krasner award; 2003 a Furthermore Grant; in 2006 The National Science Foundation for Artists Grant. Her work has been shown regularly in the US, Europe, Korea and Japan, appearing in the 6th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea. She is represented in the permanent collections of many major museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, New York, The National Gallery of Washington, The Art Institute of Chicago, The British Museum, Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Marble Palace, Russian State Museum, St. Petersburg. The "Contingency Series" is Bradshaw’s first significant body of two-dimensional work. Beginning in 1984, instead of paint she began using materials reactive to the environment.
Silver, which itself is subject to air, light and humidity, became the ground; liver of sulfur the chemical agent; and metal plates, wood, paper, linen, and the wall itself the various supports. The works range in size from a three and a half inch leaf on paper to paintings five feet in height and width. The appearance and composition of these works changes over time as reactions between the materials and environment occur. The amount of chemicals used in each piece significantly affects the outcome. Black comes up faster if the solution is dense, yet if it pools, an ashy white appears, flaking at its edges. Fire seems to be the reference. With rain the works sweat—-drip lines become visible pouring from denser pools. Silver and sulfur, alchemical elements, are used because they are highly volatile. As the artist explains, the process itself could be related to photography: the silver to the emulsion, the liver of sulfur to the developer. Although without using fixer, the exposure is open-ended.