J.C. Graham at Gallery Fifty-Six

By Janice Nabors Raiteri

[singlepic id=244 w=400 h=320 float=right]School may be out, but the June show at Gallery Fifty-Six “One Room Schoolhouse: Recent Works by J.C. Graham” is in. J.C.’s thoughtfully placed splashes of color grab your attention, but it’s the details, textures, and seemingly random objects or words that pull the viewer into J.C.’s sepia-toned art collages. You can’t help but stop, enjoy, and wonder.

J.C. Graham grew up on a farm in rural Arkansas, “As an artistic child in such an environment, I found out quickly that I was my own best friend. I preferred to dig through junk piles and old barns in a manner that most would deem ‘treasure hunting,’ but I was looking for indications that life had been there before me…from some point when I was much younger I became fascinated with what I consider this dance with life, living, and death…and all of the material goods we gather to ourselves in the process.”

Former lives somehow continuing through left-behind objects fascinated J.C., “A rusty nail was just that to most people, but my young imagination was completely tormented and entertained by what human life had relinquished the nail to time. It was significant to someone at some point in history…It was driven into wood to keep some kind of structure together…It had life and was precious to me as a child.  Now those nails, hinges, and such combine to create a structure at my hands…boxes, paintings, and assemblages that are insignificant, yet give fulfillment to individuals and characters well beyond their living years.”

I disagree only with the word “insignificant.” In my opinion, this odd assortment of found objects couldn’t have landed in better hands.

“One Room Schoolhouse: Recent Works by J.C. Graham” shows from June 2nd-July 1st. The public is invited to an opening reception on Friday, June 4th, 5-8 pm at Gallery Fifty-Six, 2256 Central Ave. For more information, call 901-276-1251 or go on-line to www.galleryfiftysix.com.

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