January 15, 2008
BEN SHAHN GALLERIES PRESENTS BRADFORD GRAVES RETROSPECTIVE
—Exhibit feature sculptures and accompanying drawings
Sculptures and drawings created by the artist Bradford Graves from 1980 until his death in 1998 will be the focus of a retrospective exhibit at the Ben Shahn Galleries at William Paterson University in Wayne from February 4 through March 7, 2008. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. An opening reception for the exhibit will be held on Sunday, February 3 from 3 to 5 p.m..
“Bradford Graves: This Mirror Can Crack a Stone, 1980-1998” examines a body of work that Graves dedicated himself to for nearly 20 years of his life. He worked primarily in stone, and at the core of much of his imagery is the archetypal ring, often broken or intersected.
“The work draws on Graves’ lifelong fascination with, and study of, archaeology and philosophy,” says Nancy Einreinhofer, director of the Ben Shahn Galleries. “His study of archaeology led him to view stone as the ancient and primary building blocks of civilization, and as a symbol of man and his relationship to the natural world. The universal mysteries that Graves found inherent in the medium became the intellectual force that enlivened him to create this series.”
In the exhibit catalog essay, Jeff Nathanson, executive director of the Arts Council of Princeton, describes Graves’ approach to making sculpture. “Graves considered that stone came from the earth and with human intervention became sculpture, to lie on the ground only to return to the earth after time,” Nathanson explains. “Graves created flat horizontal slabs that sprawled on the floor and upright totemic blocks recalling the ancient sites that provided the inspiration to make these pieces.”
Grave’s “This Mirror Can Crack a Stone #19,” from 1984, is among the works included in William Paterson’s Sculpture on Campus collection. It rests directly on the ground near Morrison Hall on campus and after many years, is succumbing to gravity and the elements. “It shows the stone sometimes smooth, sometimes textured, now cut, now broken,” says Einreinhofer. “It shows, in other words, what the artist has rendered and what was rendered by nature.”
Born in Dallas, Texas, in 1939, Graves moved to New York City in 1958. He studied at the School of Visual Arts, the American Art School, and at the New School with Syemour Lipton. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Goddard College in Vermont, and was awarded fellowships from the New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Graves created much of his body of work in his New York studio on West 52nd Street. His work is held in numerous public collections including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the New Jersey State Museum, and Chase Manhattan Bank in New York City. He was a member of the art faculty at Fairleigh Dickinson University from 1969 to 1998.
The exhibit is one of three shows currently on view in the Ben Shahn Galleries. “Prints and Company,” on view in the East Gallery, features an exploration of the state of various printed matter today. On view in the South Gallery is “American Impressions,” a national juried print exhibit curated by Ofelia Garcia, professor of art at William Paterson University.
The exhibit is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Ben Shahn Galleries are wheelchair-accessible. Large-print handouts are available. For additional information, please call the Ben Shahn Galleries at William Paterson University at 973-720-2654.
Note to reporters and editors: Downloadable photographs are available at http://ww2.wpunj.edu/publicityphotos/BenShahnGalleries/Bradford_Graves/
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