Lisson Gallery presents Rodney Graham: Paintings and Lightboxes. An opening art party was be held on February 1, 2024. The exhibition runs through March 23, 2024.

Lisson Gallery Rodney Graham

This is the first solo exhibition in Los Angeles in two decades for the Canadian pop conceptualist. It is the gallery’s first show with the artist since he passed away in late 2022. The exhibition features some of the paintings and lightboxes he was working on in the last years of his life.

Lisson Gallery

The exhibitions spotlights dual-dimensional works such as monumental, and back-lit photographs as well as textured, abstract paintings. They also reference a plethora of Graham’s wider interests including filmmaking, literature, music, comedy and art history. The seemingly oppositional media of painting and lightbox photography are also united by the careful processes of creation.  The collaging together so many diverse elements creates singularly memorable and surreal images.

Graham employed these twinned techniques of narrative- and world-building throughout his long and varied practice, whether devising one of his many fictional persona – through vast productions involving multiple props and elaborate sets – or while constructing new cubistic paintings from older examples, collaging these fragments and then committing them to canvas.

Rodney Graham Background

Graham’s painting career began in the early 2000s and the multiple layers of his recent compositions closely mirror the complex construction of the lightboxes, which originated in 2000. Starting from existing ‘source’ paintings – by Aleksandr Rodchenko, Jean Arp, Morris Louis, Pablo Picasso and many others – each painted surface is built up by manipulating, scaling and shifting these components into satisfying arrangements: “I want to find a balance between spontaneity and meticulous planning,” he said in a 2020 Financial Times interview. The painstakingly painted surfaces are not static or smooth, however, with faux woodgrain taken from hardware catalogues and sand-encrusted passages suggesting illusory shadows and depth beyond the flat picture plane.

Lisson Gallery Rodney Graham

Artwork by Rodney Graham; courtesy of the artist;

The five lightboxes by Graham included in this show (from some 40 produced during his career). All share the shallow space of a painting…from a worker taking a break during a drywalling job, to another protagonist captured between takes on a Hollywood soundstage while filming a scene set in an 18th century French garden.

Also inhabiting a narrow space between viewer and subject is the Tattooed Man on Balcony (2018). He hovers on a typical mid-century veranda, staring wistfully into the distance. The textured backdrops, abstractly painted walls and colorful sprays of tree blossom provide other links back to the paintings. Thus complicating Graham’s role as author through the roleplaying and code-switching of his chameleon-like lightboxes.

About Lisson Gallery

Lisson Gallery is one of the most influential and longest-running international contemporary art galleries in the world. Today the gallery supports and promotes the work of more than 60 international artists across two spaces in London, two in New York, one in Shanghai and Beijing, as well as Los Angeles.

Established in 1967 by Nicholas Logsdail, Lisson Gallery pioneered the early careers of important Minimal and Conceptual artists, such as Art & Language, Carl Andre, Daniel Buren, Donald Judd, John Latham, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long and Robert Ryman among many others. It still works with many of these artists as well as others of that generation from Carmen Herrera to the renowned estate of Leon Polk Smith.

In its second decade the gallery introduced significant British sculptors to the public for the first time, including Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon, Anish Kapoor, Shirazeh Houshiary and Julian Opie. Since 2000, the gallery has gone on to represent many more leading international artists such as Marina Abramović, Ai Weiwei, John Akomfrah, Susan Hiller, Tatsuo Miyajima and Sean Scully. It is also responsible for raising the international profile of a younger generation of artists led by Cory Arcangel, Ryan Gander, Van Hanos, Hugh Hayden, Haroon Mirza, Laure Prouvost, Pedro Reyes, Wael Shawky and Cheyney Thompson.

On view: February 2, 2024 – March 23, 2024

What: ‘Rodney Graham: Paintings and Lightboxes
Where: Lisson Gallery, 1037 N. Sycamore Avenue, Los Angeles
When: Running through March 23, 2024

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