SHRINE is very pleased to announce Screenshots, an exhibition pairing recent oil paintings of cracked iPhones by Graham Durward with a selection of hand-painted movie posters from Ghana.
Graham Durward, like so many of us, is no stranger to the great modern tragedy of dropping an iPhone, America’s perfect product (even if made abroad). The sharp “CRACK” of glass against pavement confirms a disaster before the eye has had time verify- A new pattern of jagged slashes has been born across what was just seconds ago pristine glass. The shock and defeated feeling of this mishap is more heavy and disheartening than would seem possible for an item that fits inside of a pocket, and distortions of image and text become the new norm. With an almost romantic tenderness, Durward documents these cracked phones as the subjects of his new paintings. Bold, almost violent strokes hover over the lightly rendered silhouettes of the damaged phones. At first glance, these paintings often read as abstract until the recognition sets in. These shattered iPhones are elevated out of the frustration that created them and become poignant symbols for the confusing contemporary world climate we are now faced with.
In the early 1980’s, another new technology, VHS and Betamax machines, began sweeping across America in force, and home video watching took hold of a collective world audience. Half a world away in Ghana, there was the same deep hunger for access to the films of Hollywood and Bollywood; however, in many small cities and rural villages there was no electricity, much less the means to maintain a movie theater. Creative, business minded people are everywhere, though, and in West Africa many of these entrepreneurs remedied this situation by devising mobile cinemas and movie clubs comprised of VCR’s, diesel generators and movie projectors that traveled across the country in the back of pickup trucks.
In order to advertise in a nation where printed materials were not easily available, local artists were hired to create flashy, hand-painted posters to highlight these films. Many times, the artists never saw the original artwork or photographs for the movies they were painting, and instead relied on quick descriptions of the films’ plots to create their wildly imaginative images, which were often more interesting and exciting, not to mention sexy and gory, than the films they portrayed. These movie posters are strange, beautiful distortions of the films so many of us grew up with and are an incredibly vivid testament to raw ingenuity and a time before technology surrounded us on every side.