Mastery of Life
May 28 to July 2, 2016
Monte Clark Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Graham Gillmore. In Mastery of Life, Gillmore continues his ongoing interest in text as image, and analyses how words can alter established meanings ascribed to familiar figurative imagery. The complexities and nuances of inter-personal relationships remain at the forefront of these works, continuing the artist’s greater practice—one closely married to autobiography. Collecting fragments of communication and story from life and literature, Gillmore quotes Dana Goodyear in explaining that the work “arises from a conjunction of humor, language and emotional difficulty” (Goodyear, “Long Short Story,” The New Yorker, March 17, 2014).
Gillmore’s construction of these works incorporates found elements: gridded, vintage ledger paper serves as a support, and the figurative illustrations are collected from children’s books of the ‘50s and ’60s, the time when Gillmore was a child. The ledger paper too has a close connection with the artist’s early years: his father, an accountant, would give Graham scraps of ledger paper to draw on.
The images themselves exude a quality of playfulness, innocence, and optimism—as Gillmore says, “they are symbolic of those fleeting moments in one’s life, prior to the inevitable trauma cause by future pain, loss, and disappointment.” The accompanying text in the works subverts the purity of the imagery, pushing it into questionable territory, and bringing to the forefront “life’s interactions partway estranged from their contexts” (Goodyear, 2014).
Graham Gillmore’s work is collected by the MoMA, the Ghent Museum, Gian Enzo Sperone, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, RCA Records, The Royal Bank of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and numerous other institutions worldwide. He has been featured in publications such as Canadian Art, W Magazine, Art News, ArtForum, L.A. Weekly, C Magazine, and the New York Times Magazine. He lives and works in Winlaw, BC and Toronto.