19 January 2011

Andrew Graves


Can you briefly describe what you do?

I make paintings and drawings. I usually use oil paint, but sometimes tempera, mostly on panel. They are abstract, but for me always contain a certain figurative reading. A geometric grid in a painting may be derived from the textile of a shirt, or an outline of a landscape. My paintings work through an understanding of abstraction, specifically in the context of European and mid century American painting.

What drives you to make work?

The language, formal qualities and conventions of painting fascinate me. My work is an engagement with the anatomy of a painting and the conceptual practice of the painter. I am interested in the point at which the work comes into being. I try to make works that contain within them the precariousness of their making.

Can you tell me something of your day-to-day working practices?

I go to the studio, work things through, try to keep doing it. I am usually working around a cluster of paintings. However, I have a painting wall with one painting on it and that is my focus for the day.

How long have you been working in that way?

I have always had a studio-based practice, I have made films, taken photographs but these things were always concerned with painting. I tend to work from two types of source material; either abstracted from a figurative source or derived from a kind of hand made geometry that can be mine or borrowed.

Which artists have had the greatest affect on your work?

Those I have been thinking about recently are Bridget Riley, Marcel Broodthaers,  Joan Mitchell, Bronzino, Bram Van Velde,

What, outside visual art, informs your practice?

I am a cyclist, watch films, listen to music, read; when I am in the studio it is these things that help me in that search for something to paint.

How would you like people to engage with your work?

Affectingly and intimately.

Have you seen anything recently that has made an impression?

Bridget Riley exhibitions always leave an impression, the current National Gallery show impressed me and brought back fond memories of the Serpentine Gallery exhibition some years back.  
I saw a Phillip Guston drawing accompanying an interview with him in a book I am reading, the drawing is barely two lines and the quote has the same economy as the image. He says “… But the ones that work are, of course, where there’s a double thing going on. I mean, they’re lines but they’re not lines, because the spaces are brought into operation.”

Do you have anything exciting on the horizon?

Yes I am planning a group painting show this year.

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