Graham Gillmore‘s paintings explore the word as image, the found text remnants of conversations, confessions, lewd remarks, cliches, witticisms and biting satire, language that make up the daily soap opera of life. His paintings are at once playful, earnest and caustic, his style brings to mind street art, comics, graffiti, pop and neon art. It’s if he’s digested much of contemporary art history and found his own way through it to create these large canvases of expressive, interlinked words and letters.
This visualization of words and letters gives much depth to the work, the tonal qualities of the paint adding gravity to what is being actually said. In some ways the letters become typographic symbols of something else, they lose their function and become part of an emotional expression on the canvas, they live in and for themselves.
Gillmore has said that his work is profoundly influenced by his accountant father who gave him countless ledger sheets to draw on – something he still uses and seeks out in whenever he can – and the anatomical illustrations found in his mother’s nursing texts. Later on in his career he credited the work of artists Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Salle and Bryce Marden for informing and inspiring his artistic quest.
Here’s what he has to say about his work:
I play the role of scavenger when it comes to the texts I use. I think of these selected fragments as a kind of linguistic ‘road kill’ – skeletons on which to hang the material of the painting