Monday, August 24, 2009
Clare Graham's Wonderama
from the article,
Self-effacing and understated (with the possible exception of his hippie beard, braided and tipped by a wooden bead), Graham sees the impetus for creating his monumental assemblages as simply a matter of keeping busy. And busy he stays, scouring swap meets, flea markets, garage sales and thrift stores for the massive quantities of material he utilizes. Just one of his organic, sea-form chandeliers includes 25,000 buttons painstakingly arranged by color and size. He estimates he has recycled close to three and a half million buttons for his sculptures. Because Graham occupies a position outside of the mainstream art world—and because of the enormous scale of his sculptures and installations—his work is rarely seen at conventional galleries. It does, however, come to life with breathtaking effect at his studio cum wunderkammer in Highland Park. Constructed in 1933 as a Safeway supermarket, the building serves as a showcase not only for Graham’s work but for the wide-ranging collections of art, decorative objects, anatomical figures, animal bones and other curiosities that he and his partner, Bob Breen, have amassed over many years. In addition, Graham and Breen have set aside 1,200 square feet for the MorYork Gallery, an exhibition space dedicated to presenting the work of other local artists. At open-house fetes on the second Saturday night of each month, one can witness the spectacle of slack-jawed hipsters and culture vultures wandering through Graham’s Xanadu as if they were on some fantastic herbal-ecstasy trip.
Posted by Chris Mansel at 2:07 PM