Graham Durwardâs paintings explore the power of images. Durward develops his paintings from photographs that he finds or takes himself. In his paintings he tries to capture a sense of sublimation; his works suggest both sensuality and distance. His muted tones and ephemeral brushwork describe the intangible with a fixation or longing. âI wanted to talk about a kind of contemporary aura that you could relate to a sacred experience,â Durward explains. âMy images have an immediate or contemporary feel, an Ethernet aura, that becomes an âothernessâ. Each image alludes to the unseen, a part of the world with its own ambience. I think about my work in analytically poetic terms. All the themes relate to some kind of solitude wrapped up somewhere inside desire.â
Graham Durward Untitled (Incense Negative)
Oil on linen
152.4 x 106.7 cm
Though Durwardâs Untitled paintings appear abstract, they are actually representations of burning incense. Durward chose to paint incense because of its immateriality and association to ritual. These ideas are echoed through his painting style. In Untitled, the billows of smoke are retraced with the artistâs brush, the gestures replicate both what the vapour looks like as well as its ârealâ properties of non-physicality and movement. âI like to stress the documentary aspect in relation to seductive painting,â Durward says. âItâs important to me not to give too much information about the works. I construct them to be experienced in an unmediated way. They donât enter into an artwork dialogue. Where the image comes from should be made as immediate to the viewer as it was to me.â
Graham Durward Untitled (Man With Fruit)
Oil on linen
86.4 x 61 cm
Durwardâs process of photographing then painting an image relates to film. His subjects are selected and framed, and the act of translating an image from one medium to another has a sequential aspect. Though Durwardâs subjects vary, he views his paintings as being interconnected or related, like stills from different scenes in a non-existent movie. Untitled was made from photographs Durward took of a model he hired via the Internet. Rendered in soft fleshy tones, the figure is inviting yet inaccessible. More like an apparition or memory than a physical presence, the body recedes to give prominence to the pomegranate, a traditional symbol for desire and faith.
Graham Durward Hotmail
Oil on linen
81.3 x 63.5 cm
âHotmail is from an image I found on the Internet, and is part of an ongoing series of solitary men. I was attracted to people who masked their faces in a crude way using Photoshop to protect their anonymity. I saw this as a kind of primitive painting and wanted to emulate or exploit this. Iâm interested in how people try to manage their own image in photographs, or use images as a kind of disguise. There is an element to my work that relates to a pre-modernist response to the contemporary world. Itâs too easy to read these types of images in a moralising way and I want to contradict that. I think this portrait is melancholic, but at the same time there is a beauty to it, a poignancy.â
artfacts.net Additional information and images â Graham Durward
maureenpaley.com Information about Graham Durwardâs work in the exhibition âThe Hiddenâ at Maureen Paley gallery 19th January â 24th February 2008
whitecolumns.org Selected images from Graham Durwardâs contribution to âLooking Backâ - âLooking Backâ is the inaugural White Columns Annual. The exhibition will become an annual fixture on White Columnsâ calendar. Each year an individual (e.g. an artist, a curator, a writer, etc.) will be invited to make an exhibition at White Columns based on their personal experience of looking at art in New York in the previous year.
swissinstitute.net Information on Graham Durwardâs participation in âUnder Pressureâ at the Swiss Institute of Contemporary Art in New York - Long before they exploded and reduced the population of Gotham City to helplessness, balloons have always represented the principal expression of every holiday. Brightly colored, charming, floating freely with the wind, they invoke a feeling of exhilaration.