Paul Graham

05 Sep - 04 Oct 2014

Installation view
Does Yellow Run Forever?
5 September – 4 October 2014

Does Yellow Run Forever?
New York—Pace and Pace/MacGill Gallery are honored to debut Paul Graham’s newest body of work, Does Yellow Run Forever?. Featuring nearly twenty large-scale color photographs taken between 2011 and 2014, the exhibition marks Graham’s second solo show with the galleries and will be on view at 510 West 25th Street from September 5 through October 4, 2014. An opening reception for the artist will be held on Thursday, September 4 from 6 to 8 PM and MACK will publish a ninety-six-page hardcover monograph to coincide with the exhibition.

For over three decades, Graham has been one of the foremost photographers working at the heart of photographic practice—engaging with the observable world. His most recent series pushes deeper into an ongoing exploration of the ephemeral and quotidian in the fabric of our lives, combining images of rainbows from Western Ireland, a young woman (the artist’s partner) asleep in different rooms on the far side of the world, and the facades of down-at-heel New York City gold shops, to collectively consider the fleeting things we seek and value in life: love, wealth, happiness, beauty—the metaphorical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

A visual meditation on our universal search for fulfillment (be it material, romantic, or spiritual), Does Yellow Run Forever? weaves between fact, myth, and dream as viewers contemplate the figurative rainbows that we each chase, perhaps foolishly, to make our dreams a reality. Graham expands upon this idea by installing the variously sized works at different heights throughout the gallery, anchoring the photographs of gold shops at ground level while pictures of rainbows float just above eye’s view. The exhibition’s enigmatic title speaks to broader notions of the ephemeral and eternal by asking the unanswerable question: does anything truly last forever?

Straddling personal and documentary genres, Graham’s newest work arguably pivots into more private territory than past projects. The series is not, however, a direct departure from the social and political concerns, or geographic settings, he has previously explored. Working in Ireland for thirty years, Graham has photographed the country’s landscape during the darker days of The Troubles (Troubled Land, 1984-86 and In Umbra Res, 1988-89) and even captured the same Irish skies during the three day span of the first “Cessation of Hostilities” that led to peace in Northern Ireland (Ceasefire, April 6–8, 1994).

Does Yellow Run Forever? refuses to reduce the world to a knowable schema, but instead embraces the puzzle—that there are no singular meanings, direct answers, or gold waiting at the end of the rainbow. Yet, there are startling visions in the everyday, be they beautiful or not, dreams worth dreaming, magical scenes to be seen, and true moments of wonder to be found.

Paul Graham (b. 1956, United Kingdom) is a British photographer living and working in New York City. In 1981, Graham completed his first acclaimed work, by photographing life along England’s primary arterial road in a series of color photographs entitled A1: The Great North Road. His use of color film in the late 1970s and early 1980s, at a time when British photography was dominated by traditional black-and-white social documentary, had a revolutionizing effect on the genre. Soon after, a new school of photography emerged with artists like Martin Parr, Richard Billingham, Simon Norfolk, and Nick Waplington making the switch to color. In 2011, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, acquired the complete set of prints from A1, the original group Graham had used to print his first book in 1983.

Over the past three decades, Graham has traveled widely, producing thirteen distinct bodies of work that include Beyond Caring (1984–1985), Troubled Land (1984–1986), New Europe (1986–1992), Television Portraits (1986–1990), Empty Heaven (1989–1995), Ceasefire (April 6–8, 1994), End of the Age (1996–1998), Paintings (1997–1999), American Night (1998–2002), a shimmer of possibility (2004–2006), Films (2011), The Present (2011), and Does Yellow Run Forever? (2011–2014). Graham has published a dedicated monograph for nearly every series of work, most famously his twelve-volume collection entitled a shimmer of possibility, created in collaboration with steidlMACK. This book was honored with the 2011 Paris Photo Book Prize for the most important photography book published in the past fifteen years.

Graham has been the subject of more than eighty solo exhibitions worldwide. In 2001, photographs from his series Paintings were included in the exhibition, Plateau of Humankind, as part of the 49th Venice Biennale. In 2011, the Museum Folkwang, Essen and the Whitechapel Gallery in London mounted Paul Graham: Photographs 1981–2006, a twenty-five-year survey of the artist’s work. Graham is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the 2009 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize and the 2012 Hasselblad Foundation International Award, considered to be photography’s highest honor.

Graham’s work is included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Whitney Museum of American Art; Tate Gallery, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; European Parliament, Brussels; Arts Council of Great Britain, London; DetKongeligeBibliotek, Copenhagen; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany; Musée de la Photographie, Belgium; Museum Communali, Italy; National Museum of Photography, United Kingdom; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and Winnipeg Art Museum, Manitoba, as well as in private collections in the United States, Europe, and Japan.

Graham has been represented by Pace and Pace/MacGill Gallery since 2011.

Tags: Richard Billingham, Paul Graham, Simon Norfolk, Martin Parr