In this new series of features, the editors of LensCulture will highlight exhibitions at galleries around the world that present compelling work by both well-known and up-and-coming photographers. We believe that it’s crucial for those passionate about photography to have an understanding of both their contemporaries and predecessors—this series will allow you to keep your finger on the pulse of the fine art world.
In his fifth solo exhibition at Yancey Richardson Gallery, Bryan Graf presents the audience with a selection of intimate photographs that draw their strength from the artist’s unique, deliberate process and dedication to experimentation. “The Sun Room” pays homage to a physical space—Graf’s studio—while exploring the multitudinous ways that meaningful places impact our emotions, our sensorial perception of our surroundings and our associative memory.
The images in “The Sun Room” are lovingly crafted, and Graf’s rapt attention to the smallest details reveal his attachment to the space. Read on for more about his process, the import of location and landscape, and how he “reinvents” landscapes through photo manipulation.
“The Sun Room” is the name of my series and my studio. It doubles as a solarium and a winter garden for plants and seedlings in the colder months; it’s also a point of origin for all of the experiments, series, works and failures that I have made over the years. Visual and physical traces of the room have found their way into my process. The changing light in the studio (wisteria vines have slowly overtaken the roof), the accumulation of mesh screens in the corner of the room, text from the day’s playlist of songs....it all coalesces into an ongoing visual journal of my studio practice.
I’ve come to see the camera as a sun room itself: a dark chamber that facilitates the generation of an image through the collection of light. The works in this show all originate in a garden—a cultivation of intentional and unintentional methods of working that flow into a procession of images, all of it growing out of necessity.
Echoes of places that appear with optical aberrations, saturated color, and visual noise are my way of reinterpreting a landscape carved from submerged desires. The camera in the field and the darkroom in post-production are instruments I use to recompose and interpret images of the landscape.
In “The Sun Room” I employ a variety of materials: the old screen from the sliding door to my studio, debris from pruning the canopy of invasive vines, etc. My work is performative: I manipulate materials and integrate gestural activity in the composition of my images. The positive tension between the experience of a place, the emotional impact it has upon us, and the associative interpretations that influence the depiction of landscape drive my work. This is an optical investigation into the plural nature of reality.
Editors’ note: All images courtesy Bryan Graf and Yancey Richardson Gallery
The Sun Room at Yancey Richardson Gallery runs from October 27 - December 3 in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood: 525 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011. They are open Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.