In a synthesis of painterly brush strokes and words, Graham Gillmore skillfully resolves the tension between reading and seeing a work of art. Letters, grouped and circled in a colorful painted pattern spell out quips in a vaguely disquieting yet familiar legalese. These phrases intersect like a crossword with the repeated command or prediction "you will change." The loose, hand painted words that together form a louring wall point to the complex issue of control of thought and action through language.
Following graduation from the Emily Carr School of Art and Design in 1985, Graham Gillmore (b. 1963) and fellow grads Douglas Coupland, Angela Grossman, Derek Root and Atilla Richard Lukacs founded the artistic group Futura Bold. Within a year of exhibiting in Vancouver, Gillmore and the other members of the group were selected by Scott Watson to exhibit in the famed Young Romantics. This exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery launched the careers of five of Canada’s most outstanding young artists.
In 1986, Gillmore moved to New York City where he exhibited his word-play paintings at numerous galleries including the 49th Parallel gallery and the prestigious Mary Boone Gallery. Since then, Gillmore has exhibited widely in galleries and museums across the US, Canada and Europe including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern and Canada House in London, the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery, the South Carolina Museum and The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art. 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.
Gillmore's work is held in numerous private, corporate and public collections including The Ghent Museum, Belgium, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto, The Vancouver Art Gallery, the University of Lethbridge, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
About Graham Gillmore
Graham Gillmore’s text-based paintings and mixed-media pieces are idiosyncratic personal and cultural commentaries on the interaction of the visual and the linguistic. He uses fragments of text, elliptical sentences, logically imploding statements, and misspellings to dislocate or obscure understanding, and otherwise allows his painterly gestures to subsume both letters and meaning. “I think of these selected fragments as a kind of linguistic ‘road kill’, skeletons on which to hang the material of the painting,” he says. For Gillmore, the abstraction overrides the text in a way meant to reflect the power of the visual to overwhelm the linguistic in the outside world.
Canadian, b. 1963, Vancouver, Canada, based in New York City and Winlaw, British Columbia