The Al Held Foundation and the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College are pleased to present The only space is the space between us, a solo exhibition by Christina Graham.
An artist from Brooklyn, NY, Graham is a third-year painting student in Bard’s MFA program and the inaugural recipient of the Al Held Archive Fellowship. The exhibition of new paintings and works on paper was informed by recent research in the Al Held Foundation’s archive and will be on view in Held’s former drawing studio from June 10–18, 2023.
Graham uses painterly abstraction to explore new ways of thinking about perception and multi-dimensional space which center intuition, somatic bodywork, emotion, and quantum entanglement. Experimenting with an array of materials, such as acrylic and oil paint, watercolor, gouache, pastel, and charcoal, Graham’s fluid compositions yield shimmering amorphous forms that fade and bleed into one another. Ever attuned to the experience of being in the world, the artist investigates the relationship between perception and making abstract paintings. Looking back at some of Graham’s initial research questions—“What does space look like when we let go of linear—or one-point—perspective? Does abstract painting have the capacity for world-building and political engagement in the 21st century?”—this presentation of new work answers with a resounding yes.
The Archive Fellowship offers the opportunity to create and present a site-responsive artwork or performance inspired by Held’s life and practice at the artist’s former studio in Boiceville, NY. The fellowship begins with an invitation to spend time in the Al Held archive, working directly with the Foundation’s archivist to conduct research or review materials that are of particular interest. The archive contains, but is not limited to, such materials as catalogues, posters, art records, studio materials, process materials, business records, and personal papers.
The exhibition title is a poetic paraphrase from an Al Held interview in 1976 in which he discusses “space” as a set of relationships. Graham observes, “Held complicates the singularity of linear perspective by using multiple contradictory vanishing points in one pictorial space. I wanted to build upon this legacy without a reliance on one- and two-point perspective, and by extension propose a non-linear conception of time and space in the paintings.”
Christina Graham (b. 1989) holds a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design (2011) and expects to earn an MFA from Bard in 2024. Past exhibitions include group shows at Ortega y Gasset Projects, The Yard at Lincoln Center, and LeRoy Neiman Gallery at Columbia University, among others. Graham has completed residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and Cuttyhunk Island, and will be in residence at Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild this September.