Lora Reynolds is pleased to announce RIP, an exhibition of new work by Graham Dolphin. This is the artist's first solo presentation at Lora Reynolds Gallery. The show includes sculpture, graphite drawings, and ink drawings on found newspapers.
Each piece in this exhibition explores the absence of a specific, well-loved public figure after he or she has passed away: several musicians, an American politician, and a member of the British Royal Family.
The sculptural objects in the show are reproductions of memorials created by fans. Dolphin's source material is often a de facto memorial: an otherwise unremarkable object that fans have covered in commemorative graffiti because of its proximity to where a famous individual died.
One such piece aggressively bisects the gallery space: a full-size reproduction of an urban wooden fence from Dealey Plaza, where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The piece obstructs a unified view of the gallery and corrals the viewer through the space. It is large, imposing, and appears old and weathered. The artificially aged wood and metal carry wheatpaste stickers and overlapping, scrawling slogans of varying degrees of legibility—a visual cacophony of remembrance.
Each of the three large graphite drawings in the show is of the sky seen through a window. Dolphin imagines these images might have been what three specific but unnamed musicians saw the moment before their deaths. Because the drawings depict only part of a window, the window frames might not read as such upon first glance. Paradoxically, they lend the pieces both a personal sense of place and an element of stony, formal abstraction.
Dolphin's sculptures and drawings are meticulously crafted. The intensity of technical attention he devotes to his work is perhaps analogous to the intensity of fans' attachments to celebrities. The emotional charge of these one-sided, fan-celebrity relationships remains intact despite Dolphin's detached, obsessive approach to art-making. Dolphin's process-driven works are reflections of how we engage with contemporary culture.
British artist Graham Dolphin was born in 1972 and lives and works in Newcastle upon Tyne. Dolphin has had solo shows at the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (England), the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art (England), and the Växjö Konsthall (Sweden). He has participated in group shows at institutions including the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma (Finland) and Turner Contemporary (England). His work is included in the collections of the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Museum Wiesbaden (Germany), the Zabludowizc Collection (London), and the David Roberts Art Foundation (London).