A multimedia exhibition by visual artist and experimental filmmaker John Graham
White Water Gallery is pleased to present UNEXPECTED ADJACENCIES from October 29 to December 23, 2023. An opening reception will be held on Sunday, October 29 from 6 to 9 pm, with an artist talk by visiting artist John Graham at 8 pm.
This exhibition by Saskatoon-based artist John Graham presents 4 split screen projections of digital collage stills alongside the moving imagery of short experimental dance videos. The stills present fantastical photo-collages of reconfigured surreal montages of as-found historical imagery of settler culture of ‘The Wild West’. The moving imagery of hypnotic experimental dance videos that beckon to the age of silent film. In addition, six framed photo-collage digital prints also explore the surreal ‘The Wild West’ theme to complement the dynamic wall projections.
The 4 video-dance projections present various metaphorical characters who intersect in dance stories told through gestures, body and sound. These four video-dances have collectively been screened at over 100 films festivals worldwide from 2016 to 2023. John Graham is the producer, director and editor for these 4 art projects. UNEXPECTED ADJACENCIES also presents the beautiful and haunting music composed by the Danish contemporary composer, Claus Gahrn in UNFOLD.
The video-dance projects UNFOLD (2019) and BEING (2018) were created in collaboration with the dance company Ziggurat Project during an international artist residency in Budapest (BARTR). UNFOLD is a poetic laboratory that visually symbolizes the unpredictable revealing of oneself to another in friendship. BEING is a compilation of 3 tone poems that explore 3 experiences of being human with very different allegorical characters interrelating. TONE 2017 and TRIO (2016) were created with choreographers and contemporary dancers during an artist residency in Montreal at the Oboro Centre. TONE is a hypnotic dance of transformation in a metaphorical forest. TRIO is a compilation of 3 otherworldly visions in 3 pieces entitled ‘Sense’, ‘Attention’ and ‘Inflection’.
FROM THE ARTIST:
As a visual artist and experimental filmmaker, I am very excited to present UNEXPECTED ADJACENCIES at the White Water Gallery. This multimedia art exhibition playfully explores unpredictable and enigmatic juxtapositions that interest all Surrealists. The still and moving imagery presented is not intended to appease the conscious mind, but to challenge it. This artwork reflects my intense interest in experimenting with collage processes. I strongly believe that meaningful collaging intuitively creates open, metaphorical relationships. As both a visual artist and experimental filmmaker, I am also intensely fascinated by the montage nature of dream life. These various visual juxtapositions in this exhibition depict ambiguous narratives that are intentionally dreamlike. My artwork freely integrates motifs from the symbolic life of inner worlds while visually investigating the complex nature of interior knowledge. Much of my imagery is inspired by the notion that dreams may know the truth of the world. Much of contemporary culture denies mythical nature of dream visions even though these phenomena are ever present in the unconscious. I continue to create imagined visualizations of otherworldly experiences embodying their own enigmatic inner logic.
My creative interests shift amongst many all visual art media and independent filmmaking. As I develop new artistic themes and ideas, I improvise in assembling visual and thematic material abiding to potential symbolic connotations and intuitive appeal. The subject of my artwork remains pluralistic, fluid and polymorphous. My creative processes synthesize long-standing artistic interests including mythological representations, surreal aesthetics, transformational psychology, visual poetics, and the fantastical. It is fulfilling for me to create allegorical narratives that shape themselves around a psychological tone. It is my hope that viewers will not try to deconstruct these visions with dismissive rationalizations. Rather, I hope that those who experience the strange and beautiful representations of dream language in my artwork, will surrender their imaginations to be activated and allow themselves to become psychically open and receptive.
JOHN GRAHAM BIOGRAPHY:
John Graham is a multidisciplinary artist and independent filmmaker based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. John started his professional creative life by studying architecture and working as an architect. He later shifted his focus to developing a career as a visual artist in multiple art media. His ever-diversifying art practice includes printmaking, artist’s books, painting, drawing, installations, and experimental filmmaking. John has participated in artist residencies worldwide and has been the recipient of many awards, grants, fellowships and prizes in visual art and short film. His visual art has been widely exhibited in over 175 solo, duo and group shows in North America, Europe and Asia. As a filmmaker, John has created 9 award- winning short experimental films that have been screened at over 200 film festivals, gallery venues and awards ceremonies in 38 countries. Since 2013, John has been teaching printmaking in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Saskatchewan. In 2020, he was appointed an Associate Professor and he continues to develop his multi-faceted art career while maintaining a busy fine art teaching practice.