RHA Ashford Gallery – Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past – John Graham

6pm on Thursday, 15 February – Exhibition Opening

RHA Ashford Gallery, 15 Ely Place, Dublin 2
Exhibition Opening 15 February at 6pm.

Exhibition continues until 24 March.

John Graham, Readymade X, acrylic, acrylic ink and pencil on paper, 24 x 30cm, 2023
For a long time I look at a drawing I have made or am making. What is it? A drawing, for me,
should be free of artifice, straightforwardly self-revealing. It should also be, somehow,
unknowable. I make systems of opposing lines, the horizontal cancelling the vertical and vice
versa. A simple dichotomy. There’s no obvious skill involved. And no metaphors, no deliberate
associations. Though inevitably different, every line wants to be the same. Variation seems like a
corruption of their nature. Sometimes they are lightly corrupted.

Titles attached to a drawing or group of drawings are useful addendums, but they have little to
do with what a drawing actually means. Being straightforward, I’d say my drawings mean
nothing, but I spend my time making them, all the same. Maybe they’re about time, how it’s
spent, evidenced or contained. While abstract, they’re not immune from connotations,
suggesting graphic codes, perhaps, or aspects of design. It’s difficult to make things that don’t
leak into other forms and ideas, that don’t themselves come from other things. I think of the
gaze orientated but not captured. Looking at the drawn surface, its compression of criss-crossing
lines, your eye escapes the net and passes through.

My ideal is a kind of transparency; the absurd idea of being seen to be invisible.

As incremental progress or ruin, discrete stages add tension to the printmaking process.
Reproduced as a quasi-mechanical gesture, the printed mark is free to find its own place in the
world. The matrix, at the same time, reverses this momentum by drawing the printed image back
to its material source. Making prints and drawings, my aim is less to find something new than to
manifest something already there.

Held in place by opposing energies, they already exist, it seems to me, but to meet them I have to make them.

*The exhibition title comes from the Scylla and Charybdis episode in Ulysses
John Graham will be in conversation with artist and lecturer Brian Fay at 5.30pm on Wednesday,
6 March in the gallery. All welcome.

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