Yancey Richardson Gallery is pleased to present Broken Lattice, the third solo exhibition at the gallery by Bryan Graf. By using found objects, low-fi processes, and an experimental approach to materials, Graf’s photographs and assemblages explore the opposing forces of control and chance through methods of repetition, inversion and accumulation. Most of the works in the exhibition were produced as unique, camera-less photograms, a process by which Graf can exert certain constraints while leaving other elements beyond his control. The artist explains his way of seeing thusly:
“As I write this correspondence, the blind is down, covering the window to the right of my desk. The window is open and the screen projects a moiré-patterned shadow onto the fabric of the blind. This image fluctuates in and out of focus as it breathes with the wind. The lattice outside the opposite window is bending, warping under the weight of nature. And at this late, subterranean time of day the distinction between the orderly framework of the lattice and the entangled labyrinth of Wisteria vines is unclear. The two structures are blending into one another, forming a solid inky mass outside the bay window of my studio. This impression lasts for a few moments before sinking into the night. Focus. The screen is a filter – a grid maintaining repetition, order and control. Folded, warped and tangled, it creates visual noise, disturbances and interference. It becomes a dragnet, a visualization of chance-based actions within a repetitious structure. The grid is a lattice, a support system for nature; being constantly broken and sculpted by the persistent and omnipresent activity of the natural order.”
The structure of the lattice fence in relation to the organic tangle of wisteria vine serves as the conceptual basis and visual metaphor for Graf’s new work. He often uses mesh as an agent to illustrate the force of structure, though he deliberately undermines the orderly nature of the mesh by staging situations where chance controls its visual output.
Graf’s Shot/Reverse Shot, for example, is a series of diptychs consisting of a Polaroid and a photogram. The flash from the camera creates a Polaroid self-portrait, simultaneously exposing a sheet of light-sensitive paper, creating the photogram. This series is a disassembling process – as Graf makes the photogram he is documenting the making of the photogram. In Random Walk, Graf recalls the Surrealist practice of automatism, placing found objects directly onto light-sensitive paper to create gestural abstractions with light from a cellphone and color filters. In Lattice (Ambient), Graf again places mesh directly on paper and creates photograms with a hand-held flash. In these latter two series, the intuitive gesture of the artist’s hand creates the image, but only after it has been filtered through the mesh and other accumulated objects.
Bryan Graf lives and works in Portland, Maine and New Jersey. He received an M.F.A from Yale University in 2008 and a B.F.A. from the Art Institute of Boston in 2005. His work was recently featured in Second Nature: Abstract Photography Then and Now at the Decordova Sculpture Park and Museum, and will be on display this spring in The Polaroid Years: Instant Photography and Experimentation at the Loeb Art Center at Vassar College. Conveyor Press released his first monograph, Wildlife Analysis, in March 2013.