Graham McNamara

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IMG_6291, 2009 Oil On Mdf Unit 18 X 18 X 3.5 Inches © Graham McNamara
Quick Facts
London, England
Birth year
Lives in
Jersey City
Works in
New York
mixed-media, landscape, traditional, figurative, conceptual

My work challenges conventions of realism, through a reductionist method of deconstructing romantic, idyllic European painting. Approaching each citation with clinical idiosyncrasies, I dissect the chosen image, sometimes arbitrarily, sometimes ironically, into painted sections and sparsely primed areas, with pencil line or printed image. These various sections form a hybrid entity, both complete and incomplete; a collage of both living and dead matter. Seemingly familiar imagery, almost impossible to decipher its origins. These are applied to sharp, frameless Judd-esque boxes of various dimensions, defining structure and presence. 

The painted areas have no pictorial depth or painterly marks. The brush strokes are wiped clean, leaving a surface value balanced between the romanticism of painting, and the impersonal, aura-less mechanical print. The singular color forms a sort of purism, altering the sense perception and disrupting the ‘window effect’. Drips intersect, eroding sentiment, defying visual depth and the romantic artistic creation. The image seemingly floats, suspended and weightless. The aesthetic is beautiful, but melancholic. In the ‘Units’ and ‘IMG_’ series, the pieces own integrity is almost hypocritically under-minded in its own creation. In order to achieve the desired effect, the surface is painted in the chosen color, solvents are poured over this with no regard for the image that will be applied. Once this is dry the image is painstakingly painted around the drips, thus playing with the narrative of the piece itself. The line is a transition or movement; it is the creator and the destructor, simultaneously building a picture, but also regressing the image to a cold, economic representation. The line connects past with present, unifying them into a single, indistinguishable moment of discourse. The construction of these pieces is fundamental; manufactured, crisp and sterile, the pieces become units of art, taking on a sculptural presence, placing the work outside of a painterly reading and into a conceptual art object.