At first glance, Brian Graham’s paintings read as deeply satisfying textured abstract compositions in thrilling combinations of earth colours. Behind them however lies a profound fascination with and empathy for our earliest forebears and the places where they have left traces of their lives. Bringing his artist’s imagination to the knowledge derived from the latest science of palaeontology and archaeology, Brian Graham reaches back in time to mankind’s early development, where stone tools and tantalising fragments of activity give glimpses of our ancient past, in paintings that resonate strongly with core parts of our modern minds.
Touching on feelings of refuge, hearth and nurturing as well as ice, earth, fire and threat, Brian Graham’s paintings speak through the chanced upon ambiguous vestiges that are the language of archaeology. Beech’s Pit, the first identified hearth in this country, was constructed by beings 400,000 years ago, long long before Homo Sapiens. The oldest known worked timbers in the world are 10,000 years old and found at Star Carr in North Yorkshire. Examples like these provide much of the motivation for Brian’s output.
His work has been enthusiastically embraced by archaeologists and anthropologists working in this area. The Natural History Museum, London, possesses and has exhibited one of his portfolio works, The Book of Boxgrove. In January 2009 he shared a Nature Live Event there, entitled Boxgrove Art and Artefacts, with Professor Chris Stringer, Merit Researcher at the Natural History Museum and co-author with Professor Peter Andrews of another publication about Brian’s work, Starting From Scratch.
His work is in several prestigious private collections and in many public collections including The National Museum of Wales, the art galleries of Dorchester, Southampton, Leicester, Huddersfield and York as well as the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Southampton and London. In 2008, Brian Graham was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts by Bournemouth University where for some years he has acted as visual arts consultant. Also that year, a richly illustrated hardback monograph, Brian Graham, Flint and Flame, written by critic and broadcaster Charlotte Mullins was published by Hart Gallery. Represented between 1998 and 2012 by the Hart Gallery in London, Graham produced several solo exhibitions, mainly for their Islington Gallery, participated in many International Art Fairs, including London, Nimes and Geneva, and has taken part in numerous group shows.
Palaeoscapes is his first major exhibition in his home county of Dorset for many years. A range of about 50 paintings from small works on paper to large canvases will be on view from 1 March – 27 April 2014.
A fully illustrated catalogue is available with a foreword by Annette Ratuszniak at £10 plus £1.50 p&p.
To view the paintings please click here.
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