Graham Durward Exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery

Graham Durward
Untitled (Incense Positive)


Oil on linen

121.9 x 106.7 cm

Graham Durward’s 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. “I wanted to talk about a kind of contemporary aura that you could relate to a sacred experience,” Durward explains. “My images have an immediate or contemporary feel, an Ethernet aura, that becomes an ‘otherness’. 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.”

Graham Durward
Untitled (Incense Negative)


Oil on linen

152.4 x 106.7 cm

Though Durward’s 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 artist’s brush, the gestures replicate both what the vapour looks like as well as its ‘real’ properties of non-physicality and movement. “I like to stress the documentary aspect in relation to seductive painting,” Durward says. “It’s important to me not to give too much information about the works. I construct them to be experienced in an unmediated way. They don’t enter into an artwork dialogue. Where the image comes from should be made as immediate to the viewer as it was to me.”

Graham Durward
Untitled (Man With Fruit)


Oil on linen

86.4 x 61 cm

Durward’s 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 Durward’s 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


Oil on linen

81.3 x 63.5 cm

“Hotmail 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. I’m 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. It’s 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.”

Other artists in

Caroline Achaintre    Tasha Amini    Hurvin Anderson    Maurizio Anzeri    Jonathan Baldock    Anna Barriball    Steve Bishop    Karla Black    Lyn. Yiadom Boakye    Pablo Bronstein    Alan Brooks    Peter Linde Busk    Carla Busuttil    Nicholas Byrne    Gareth Cadwallader    Juliana Cerqueira Leite    Spartacus Chetwynd    Steven Claydon    Clarisse d'Arcimoles    William Daniels    Matthew Darbyshire    Graham Durward    Tim Ellis    Tom Ellis    Richard Evans    Tessa Farmer    Marcus Foster    Robert Fry    Ximena Garrido-Lecca    Jaime Gili    Nick Goss    Luke Gottelier    Kate Groobey    Anthea Hamilton    Anne Hardy    Gabriel Hartley    Nicholas Hatfull    Iain Hetherington    Alexander Hoda    Sigrid Holmwood    James Howard    Graham Hudson    Dean Hughes    Des Hughes    Mustafa Hulusi    Paul Johnson    Edward Kay    Idris Khan    Scott King    Ansel Krut    littlewhitehead    Christina Mackie    Alastair Mackinven    Goshka Macuga    Ryan Mosley    Rupert Norfolk    Arif Ozakca    Mark Pearson    Dan Perfect    Peter Peri    Olivia Plender    Henrijs Preiss    Ged Quinn    Clunie Reid    Barry Reigate    Luke Rudolf    Maaike Schoorel    Daniel Silver    David Brian Smith    Renee So    Fergal Stapleton    Clare Stephenson    Systems House    Caragh Thuring    Phoebe Unwin    Donald Urquhart    Jonathan Wateridge    John Wynne    Toby Ziegler

Graham Durward's Biography

Graham Durward
Born 1966, Aberdeen, UK
Lives and works in New York


Whitney Museum Independent Study Program

Edinburgh College of Art, Postgraduate

Edinburgh College of Art


Maureen Paley, London.

White Room, White Columns, New York


Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York

Patrick Callery, New York

Shedhalle, Zurich


Kick In The Eye, Vox Populi, Philadelphia

Male, curated by Vince Aletti, Maureen Paley, London

Newspeak:British Art Now, The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia

The Hidden, Maureen Paley, London

Looking Back, White Columns, New York

20th Aniversary Show, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York

A painting, Trans Hudson Gallery, New York
Snakes, Snails and Puppydogs Tails, Nicolai Fine Art, New York.

Under Pressure, Swiss Institute, New York
New Videos, AD HOC, New York

I LOVE NY Video Show curated by Graham Durward for The Edinburgh International Festival

Boesky Callery, New York
John Michael Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Gender Affects, Kinsey Institute, Indiana University

The Masculine Masquerade, curated by Andrew Perchuk and Helaine Posner, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA

The Use of Pleasure, curated by Robert Nickas, Terrain, San Francisco, CA

Haines Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Dance ‘93, curated by Noemi Smolik, Munich
Sandra Gering Gallery, New York
Bodily, Penine Hart Gallery, New York

Mr B’s Curiosity Shop curated by Saul Ostrow, Threadwaxing Space, New York
POP BODY, curated by Catherine Liu, Sally Hawkins Gallery, New York
Insignificant curated by Gavin Brown