John Graham, “Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past”.


16 Feb, 2024 - 24 Mar, 2024

A new body of drawings and prints by John Graham will show in the RHA Ashford Gallery this February.

To view and purchase the artworks in this exhibition online, please explore our viewing rooms here: ViewingRooms

“For a long time I look at a drawing I have made or am making. What is it? A drawing, for me, should be free of artifice, straightforwardly self-revealing. It should also be, somehow, unknowable. I make systems of opposing lines, the horizontal cancelling the vertical and vice versa. A simple dichotomy. There’s no obvious skill involved. And no metaphors, no deliberate associations. Though inevitably different, every line wants to be the same. Variation seems like a corruption of their nature. Sometimes they are lightly corrupted.

Titles attached to a drawing or group of drawings are useful addendums, but they have little to do with what a drawing actually means. Being straightforward, I’d say my drawings mean nothing, but I spend my time making them, all the same. Maybe they’re about time, how it’s spent, evidenced or contained. While abstract, they’re not immune from connotations, suggesting graphic codes, perhaps, or aspects of design. It’s difficult to make things that don’t leak into other forms and ideas, that don’t themselves come from other things. I think of the gaze orientated but not captured. Looking at the drawn surface, its compression of criss-crossing lines, your eye escapes the net and passes through. My ideal is a kind of transparency; the absurd idea of being seen to be invisible.

As incremental progress or ruin, discrete stages add tension to the printmaking process. Reproduced as a quasi-mechanical gesture, the printed mark is free to find its own place in the world. The matrix, at the same time, reverses this momentum by drawing the printed image back to its material source. Making prints and drawings, my aim is less to find something new than to manifest something already there. Held in place by opposing energies, they already exist, it seems to me, but to meet them I have to make them”. John Graham, Feb 2024.

Artist Bio

John Graham graduated from the NCAD with a BA in 1993 and an MFA in 2006. With a foundation in drawing and printmaking, his practice has included video and sound installations, writing and curatorial projects. He has exhibited widely in Ireland and internationally, most prominently with Green on Red Gallery, Dublin and Yanagisawa Gallery, Saitama, Japan. Public collections include the Irish Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Ireland, Arts Council of Ireland, Chester Beatty Library, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin and New York Public Library. His writing has appeared in artists’ books and gallery publications. His exhibition reviews are published by the Visual Artists’ News Sheet, Enclave Review, Art Monthly, Paper Visual Art Journal and Mirror Lamp Press, among others. After lecturing for more than twenty years, he finished teaching in the Yeats Academy of Arts, Design and Architecture (YAADA) at the Atlantic Technological University, Sligo, in September 2023. He is a part-time student on the MA Art in the Contemporary World programme at the NCAD. He lives in Dublin. @johngrahamdublin #holdtothenow

Images: Installation views of Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past

Photography: Kate Bowe O’Brien

  • Date:

    16 Feb, 2024 - 24 Mar, 2024
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