Talk: Brian Graham in conversation with Professor Simon Olding Friday 26 April, 6.30pm. Tickets: £10 or £28 with dinner to follow.
Artist Brian Graham will talk about his new Great Heath paintings currently filling Sladers Yard. His new works explore Thomas’s Hardy’s Egdon Heath, a ‘great swarthy vastness’ studded with Bronze Age barrows. In the tradition of English literature from Shakespeare to Hardy, the heath was where the human situation is stripped bare. The paintings, many of which take their titles from Hardy, are based on specific places on the heath, where Graham is able to feel his way back, just as he did as an imaginative child, to life as it was for early peoples. Layered with Hardy’s vision, Holst’s composition (also entitled Egdon Heath and dedicated to Hardy) and the emotions these places stir in him now, Brian has painted a thrilling collection of ambiguous moody paintings, in deeply textured rich earth colours. His work explores light and emotion with a thorough visceral enjoyment of paint itself.
Brian Graham has an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Bournemouth University where he has worked as a consultant. His work has been exhibited in county, city and national museums across the country as well as many times in London. Acclaimed by archaeologists and enthusiastic patrons alike, his works have been collected by major institutions across the UK and USA. They include London’s Natural History Museum, The National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and London and the art galleries of Southampton, York, Huddersfield, and Leicester amongst many others.
Professor Simon Olding is Director of the Crafts Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts. His long interest with the arts of Dorset dates from his time as Director of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum. In that capacity, he was a member of the selection panel that appointed Brian Graham as the inaugural Bournemouth International Festival Artist in 1994. Simon has written about the crafts and artists in Dorset, including a history of the Dorset Craft Guild, monographs on Martyn Brewster and John Hinchcliffe. He writes especially about contemporary studio pottery with essays and lectures on Richard Batterham, Yo Thom and Jonathan Garratt and he was co-selector and co-editor of ’50 Dorset Makers’ for Evolver Books and DVA. He is an Honorary Fellow of Arts University Bournemouth