Thursday, February 13, 2014

JJ Graham Paintings

Petra by J.J. Graham, Oil 2014
Here we are, in the bleak mid-winter. But hard at work, with his unique abundance of light and color, is artist John (J.J.) Graham. Typically working at making other artists look good at his Hollingsworth Gallery in Palm Coast, FL, Graham has been feverishly painting the past month and now it is his turn to shine. 

Tonight we celebrate the paintings of John J.J. Graham with the opening of his solo show at the Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach, FL.

Daytona Beach, FL


JJ's expressive style, which has been evolving over the past twenty years or so, continues to prove that great paintings are really born through a love of paint and the not-so-easy process of blending your true self into and onto the imagery. Most painters tend to shy away from revealing too much, but those who dig in and excavate, pour, scrape and spill it all on the canvas, are typically those whose raw paintings we can never get enough of. And these new paintings don't disappoint.

I stand in his studio and watch his incessant pushing and pulling of the brush, leaving short yet determined strokes, followed by J.J.'s "pause and paws" approach. This is where he paws at the paint and pauses to look at the surface before diving in yet again. Then there's a full body turn as his left foot pops up while his right arm comes down quickly layered by a more graceful, almost wand-like move with a scrappy looking piece of charcoal and bam! Images appear, lines form, he travels in it, around it and allows it to come alive - almost like he is letting something out or waiting for it to knock him over. Sometimes this happens in minutes, others take days and weeks - but always his paintings are living and breathing testaments to the workings of an artist who paints without fear and has built a style that is uniquely Graham. 

When looking more closely at his paintings you typically find nuggets of both information and detail along the sight-line. Be they texture or a color shift, you soon learn, while holding a glass of wine and slowing down to really inhale the images, there are other worlds living within, behind and alongside what first captured your eye. Not unlike J.J. himself. The depths and caverns not always on the surface. And we see, when looking at both the artist and the work, that this is the out pouring of someone whose life is dependent on the canvas, on the process of painting and is obsessed with paint. 

Come discover these new works in person and meet the artist tonight at the Peabody Auditorium which is just north of the intersection of International Speedway Blvd and A1A along the beach. There is plentiful parking, light eats, and wine and is free and open to the public. Come on out. You just may find yourself taking one of them home.