Ron Graff: Dead Reckoning
September 17- October 16, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, September 16, 6-8pm
Dead reckoning: the process of calculating one’s position, especially at sea, by estimating the direction and distance traveled rather than by using landmarks or electronic navigation methods.
Ron Graff has painted still lifes for over forty years and color field and gestural abstractions for the last eight. This exhibition brings together both bodies of work. Rather than positioning him in relation to fixed landmarks—‘representation’ versus ‘abstraction’—the show charts a course that connects the former to the latter and reveals Graff’s ongoing investigation of perception and memory, presence and the lack of it, compression and expansion, space and light.
Most likely you will reproach me that our art does not solve any of the enigmas of nature. Our task is not to solve enigmas, but to be aware of them […]. If you absolutely require discoveries, however, I will tell you that I am proud to have succeeded in combining a certain particularly intensive cobalt with a luminous, lemon-like yellow, as well as recording the reflection of southern light which strikes through thick glass onto a grey wall.*
* Zbigniew Herbert, writing as Johannes Vermeer in Still Life with a Bridle: Essays and Apocryphas, Ecco Press 1991.
Ron Graff (b. 1947, Hot Springs, SD) lives and works in Eugene, Oregon. He has exhibited and lectured on his work nationally and received grants and awards from organizations including the Oregon Arts Commission and the Ford Foundation. In addition to serving in the U.S. Navy in as an illustrator draftsman and cartographer in Vietnam (1965-70), Graff studied at Weed Community College, California, the Kansas City Art Institute (BFA 1973), and Yale University (MFA 1975). Graff has since held teaching positions at the University of Iowa (1975-81) and is now retired associate professor emeritus at the University of Oregon, where he taught drawing and painting from 1981 to 2014.