New York, 555 West 21st Street
Canadian artist Rodney Graham returns New York for a solo exhibition for his new work at 303 Gallery where the artist has been showing since the early ‘90s. Known for his interdisciplinary and inquisitive approach to art making, Graham delves into modes of critical thinking and human existence through photography, film, and performance—often times blurring the distinctions between these mediums. Graham is considered a key figure in Vancouver School—a conceptual art movement that emerged in the Canadian city in the early ‘80s with names like Jeff Wall and Stan Douglas as well as Graham.
In his eighth exhibition at his New York gallery, Graham places himself into various narratives and stereotypical roles, producing multi-channel light box photographs in detailed settings. In his Cindy Shermanesque fashion, Graham poses in different social roles and archetypes. In Media Studies ’77, a two-channel aluminum light box with transmuted chromogenic transparencies, the artist is a university professor who smokes his cigarette as he perches atop a desk potentially before his students. The attire he dons clearly signifies that the era is the ‘70s; Graham puts on a character who is sophisticated, educated, and blasé.
“Graham’s light boxes, like his film loops, are certainly more accessible than some of his more intellectually ambitious conceptual projects. Indeed, investigating the overlap between “serious” art and “light” entertainment seems to be part of what Graham is up to with these works. With his gift for maintaining a familiar charisma and consistent persona while inhabiting a wide range of characters, Graham’s performance style often recalls that of a classic Hollywood movie star (Cary Grant was an apt choice for impersonation),” says Michael Vass in his 2013 Canadian Art review titled Rodney Graham Reflected Anew in NYC.
The exhibition runs through June 2, 2017.