Saturday, May 07, 2005


Graham Gillmore - Ploy

Through the gallery’s window, the painting was unmistakably Graham Gillmore’s. The surface was sultry red and the distinctively routered text promised Girls Girls Girls, but like all such come-ons, this one was a ploy, his exhibition is riddled with them. Fold - ins (Ploy) is a small work made by folding a cover of Playboy to get the titular Ploy. Twenty-five similar works arranged in a cluster show other gleefully maligned printed matter from which Gillmore has teased a Clit, a Canadian Ho, and an Anal Hic. Another version of Fold - ins (Ploy) makes an appearance in the painting Ploy. This is Gillmore’s Johnsian summation of his work to this point, and a glimpse of what will follow. Beneath his characteristic red and blue texts, in this case the broken English of Russian mail order brides looped through the sexual preferences of “men seeking women”, and atop his familiar ledger pages, are reproductions from a book on taxidermy, a small version of a masonite painting that transforms Mondrian to wet dream, and numerous other allusions. Towards the bottom of this picture the quality of paint changes and is continued in the pictures which face it. Road Block and In This Group have Gillmore throwing caution to the wind as he pushes material around with a robust painterliness. The texts in these are fully frontal so the space is a shallow text over paint over paper over canvas. Constant here and throughout Gillmore’s work over the years is the singularity of the voice heard in texts which are by turns humorous, and expressive of the uncertainty, difficulty, and fragility of the human condition, and of the tenuous relations that exist between us, so that even in the epic Ploy one can find “this is the epitome of everything that sucks”.

Dion Kliner Vancouver 2004
Published in Flash Art, May - June, Vol.XXXVII, No.236.

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