The Vancouver Art Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition, Rodney Graham: A Little Thought, opening February 5, 2005. This is the first major North American tour of Graham’s work and this mid-career retrospective includes film, video, photography, sculpture and music by the internationally celebrated Vancouver-based artist. For nearly three decades as an artist, musician and writer, Rodney Graham has engaged audiences through innovative and exciting approaches to landscape, literature and sound.
Focusing on Graham’s video and film work from the projection events of the late 1970s to recent costume dramas, Rodney Graham: A Little Thought features 24 works, including seven major audio- visual installations and a new film work, many of which have not previously been seen in Vancouver. In addition to film and video, the exhibition includes photographs, sculpture and audio recordings that demonstrate Graham’s masterful use of genres - from minimalism to film noir from James Bond to Charlie Chaplin and from Richard Wagner to Pink Floyd.
“Rodney Graham is a remarkable artist whose work encourages us to cross borders of all kinds,” said Kathleen Bartels, Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery. “His intelligence, curiosity and humour shine through every aspect of this exhibition and we are delighted to have the opportunity to showcase Graham’s work in his hometown.”
Born in Abbotsford in 1949, Rodney Graham began his artistic career at a time when the work of legendary American artists Dan Graham and Robert Smithson greatly influenced the artistic community in Vancouver. Rodney Graham is often identified with the “Vancouver School” of photography but he has taken a singular and often arcane path combining whimsical references to pop culture with a rigourous multidisciplinary breadth. Graham has been exhibited widely throughout Canada and Europe. In Vancouver his works have been included in several shows, including a solo exhibition in 1987 and a sculpture commissed for the campus of the University of British Columbia, Milleninial Time Machine, a 19th century, horse drawn landau, whose carriage has been converted into a camera obscura, in June 2003. Graham has received global acclaim and in Europe his works have been included in international art events such as Documenta IX and the 1997 Venice Biennale. A major survey of his work was presented in London in 2002 which then travelled to Düsseldorf and Marseilles.
“Rodney Graham is a rare artist whose new work is always eagerly anticipated and is among the most compelling art being made today,” said Grant Arnold, Curator, Vancouver Art Gallery. An example of Graham’s wit and humor is illustrated in his photo diptych, Fishing on a Jetty (2000), in which he assumes the role of Cary Grant as he plays an ex-thief pretending to be blind in Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief, with the Vancouver skyline looming in the background.
This exhibition has been organized collaboratively by three institutions, Vancouver Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Ontario and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The exhibition debuted at the Art Gallery of Ontario in March 2004, travelled to The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in the summer of 2004 and now arrives with much anticipation in Vancouver. The tour will continue after the hometown debut and travel to its final stop at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 2005.