Curated by Jessica Demers
I Love You, In Theory will feature a collection of works spanning Winlaw studio-based artist Graham Gillmore’s career of over 30 years. Included are his iconic text-based paintings on panel, canvas and paper, alongside sculptures, and several new works.
Gillmore’s text-based paintings appear at once elegant and gritty, carefully executed and spontaneous. From seductive poured paint surfaces akin to the Abstract Expressionist Morris Louis, to dense stacks of roughly drawn, encircled letters, reminiscent of Jean-Michelle Basquiat, his work has wide aesthetic appeal. The highly controlled router-carved block letters of his panel works contrast with the loose line quality of his paintings on canvas, described by artist William Rand “as if painted by the trunk of a baby elephant learning how to spell“.
The fragmented messages relayed in Gillmore’s paintings often contain a circular logic and searing irony, using humour and quick-fire wit to counter an undercurrent of loss, cynicism and discontent. His masterful manipulation of clichés, idioms and pop culture references moves the work from personal narrative to a more collective context.
Originally from Vancouver, Gillmore’s career began during his graduating year at Emily Carr College of Art and Design in 1985. At that time he joined with fellow Emily Carr students Attila Richard Lukacs, Angela Grossmann and Derek Root to form the artist’s collective Futura Bold. After their first exhibition, the Vancouver Art Gallery organized the legendary Young Romantics exhibition which featured Futura Bold, along with 4 other artists. The following year, Gillmore moved to New York City. In 1992 his international career was effectively launched after prominent Italian art dealer Gian Enzo Sperone visited Gillmore’s studio and bought everything he had. Gillmore’s work is currently represented by galleries in Vancouver, Toronto, New York, Milan, Madrid, Mexico City, and San Francisco. His paintings can also be found in the collections of numerous public art galleries, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. For the past 10 years he has divided his time between New York and his studio in Winlaw, BC. Throughout his highly successful career, Gillmore’s work has been shown primarily in private galleries. This will be his first exhibition in a public gallery in BC, and his first exhibition in the Kootenays.