Bryan Graf. Midnight Swim

22 May 2024 – 3 Jul 2024

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

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Yancey Richardson is pleased to present Midnight Swim, Bryan Graf’s seventh solo show with the gallery. Five large-scale color photographs will be on view in the project gallery from May 22 – July 3, 2024 with an opening reception Wednesday, May 22 from 6-8pm. 

Midnight Swim continues Graf’s exploration into photographic materiality and experimental processes. Deliberately subverting traditional photographic representation, the images in Midnight Swim explore time, memory and experience in nature as subjects, combining past and present in a multi-faceted approach. Graf’s work conveys his experience of nature as both ecstatic and entropic, with vegetation decaying and blossoming simultaneously. 

The exhibition presents photographs from two of Graf’s ongoing series, Hallucinations and Telepathic Jungle. Made with a 4x5 large format camera, the Hallucinations photographs record multiple exposures of a canopy of wisteria taken over a summer day as the light changed. Planted at his childhood home the summer he was born, the forty-year-old wisteria vine has functioned as both a touchstone and metaphor for Graf throughout much of his career. Placing colored gels over the camera lens to accentuate a tone, a sense of the day or a particular association with a mood or memory, Graf explains, “The chromatic vapor of memory is constantly swirling; these stand as testaments to the layered sensations of being engulfed in that canopy, which still feels as magical and sublime as when I was a kid.”

Telepathic Jungle arose from years of experimentation with the photographic medium and its materials. Inspired by a single photograph of invasive vines growing over maple trees, Graf created a weaving maze of nature in all its unruly and merciless beauty. Exposing the negative to multiple flashes in the darkroom along with color gel filters, he then developed the large print in a handmade wooden trough, agitating the paper to create drips and visual stutters flecked across the paper. A second unique photogram is Midnight Swim, an image taken of crashing waves illuminated by a full moon. Combining seawater with photographic developer, Graf poured the mixture over the print while exposing the image onto the paper. A swirl of ultramarine blue, deep green and dark umber hues activate the image keeping it in constant motion, imbuing breath and life into the artist’s memory of the experience. 

Born in 1982, Bryan Graf received an MFA from Yale University in 2008 and a BFA from the Art Institute of Boston in 2005. His work has been exhibited at the George Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York; Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, Maine; and DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, Massachusetts. Graf was the recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2015) and the Maine Arts Commission Project Grant (2019). He is the subject of several monographs: Wildlife Analysis (Conveyor Arts, 2013); Moving Across the Interior (ICA@MECA, 2014); Prismatic Tracks (Conveyor Arts, 2014); Broken Lattice (Conveyor Arts, 2015); and Debris of the Days (Conveyor Arts, 2018). The artist currently lives and works in New Jersey.

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Bryan Graf


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