Born 1961 James P Graham has been working full time as a multimedia artist for fifteen years working principally in film, photography, drawing and sculpture. Having left school at 18 he travelled to Paris to start a career in photography. After 7 years professional work he returned to London in 1994 to direct TV Commercials, and in parallel was awarded international photographic commissions in editorial, and advertising photography. In 2002-3 he spawned his first artworks. These were screen based experimental filmworks using Super 8 film and framed within a landscape of ‘metaphysical and ontological significance’.
His first large scale work Iddu (2007) was made over 5 years on the landscape of the active volcano Stromboli in Italy and jointly funded through the Arts Council of England and the NESTA Foundation. This 360 degree multi screen film installation was first exhibited at MUDAM Guest House, Musee d’Art Moderne (MUDAM) Luxembourg in 2007 in the form of a 9m diameter, 3m high tent .and subsequently at the Busan Biennial, South Korea 2010, curated by Takashi Azumaya. In 2010 It was adapted into a two screen work Iddu – study in 60 degrees for thecritically acclaimed exhibition Volcano: Turner to Warholat Compton Verney, Warwickshire, UK.
In 2008 he made the first of his Suspended Animation sculptures, where Graham ‘enhances the living qualities of stone.’ Every flint contains a naturally made hole which ancients believed possessed healing qualities. The sculptural forms resemble warped skeletal frames imperceptibly hovering above the ground. This is not unrelated to his film Losing Seahenge (1999) which clearly laments the sacrilegious removal of a 4000 year old burial site to a sterile ‘geological zoo’, a site now lost for ever as a result of its autopsy and excavation.
Having trained traditionally in photography and filmmaking, Graham particularly enjoys the interface between analogue processes and high end technology. Recently, some of his projects like Albion (2006), and the ongoing Voyageprint series, have been made uniquely using polaroid film, which is believed to be the only visual medium to successfully capture the energetic field of a place or person.
Mainly using landscape and nature, his work has explored the now disused term ‘scientia sacra’, where chosen locations and objects carry a metaphysical and ontological significance. Graham likes to use different energy sources, physical or metaphysical, real or imagined which challenge the viewer to step beyond sensual perception. The results can be enticingly intangible, and in some cases, totally immersive. Graham sites two important factors fundamental to his work. First, ‘intuition’ – the catalyst behind the creation of every artwork, and second, ‘resonance’– the result of the work as expressed through the viewer.
His first solo show in Italy took place in 2015. The title ‘Calling for the Infinite Sphere‘ refers to a series of sculptures which uses the satellite dish, a modern everyday object, and transforms it from receptive to reflective portal. The title references a famous quote attributed to the ancient Egyptian philosopher, priest and alchemist Hermes Trismegistus. ‘God is an infinite sphere, the centre of which is everywhere and the circumference nowhere’.
His latest project carries a more grave ecological tone, concentrating on negative energy generated by environmental damage and conflict in the Middle East. ‘Desecration’ (2018) is a series of works on paper which oscillate between 2D and 3D, using pen, watercolour, cut out paper, and plastic.
James P Graham lives and works between London and Italy.