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Christina Graham‘s “Ridgewood Reflections” is currently on view by appointment at Brethren Gallery in Queens, NY. Up through August 16, the show is the artist’s first with the gallery, and includes new paintings and site-specific sculptures. In the final days of the show, Graham spoke with us about her affinity for apertures, cheap jokes, and how mirrors really can “open up the space.”
WHITEWALL: What was the starting point for this body of work?
CHRISTINA GRAHAM: “Ridgewood Reflections” is based on the architectural features of room itself. Brethren is a house gallery run by Angela Simione out of what would typically be a living room or bedroom. It has three bay windows with incorrectly-welded guard rails, a mirrored closet, a radiator and two doors. The molding and walls are painted with subtle variations on white. It felt like a kind of DIA site, a handmade minimalism seeped in nostalgia.
WW: How did you arrive at certain imagery and motifs like radiators, windows, curtains, etc.?
CG: I’ve always been interested in apertures. For me, they prompt conversations about perspective, domesticity, privacy, access and the history of painting itself. The paintings and sculptures in the show are a literal reflection of the space, influenced by the textures and imagery I encountered in the days between first visit and final show.
WW: Can you tell us more about that and the clever install of the show?
CG: At the core of my work is usually a cheap joke. A painting of a framed view (a window) and the denial of that view with a pour (a curtain). I initially made Radiator (for Jim) to reflect the interior radiator. During install, Angela and I hung it over the bigger radiator in the entry hall of the house, halfway over the wood veneer wainscoting and we couldn’t stop laughing. I thought it set the right tone as the first thing you see.
In my mind, the sculptures are supporting acts for the paintings. Materially, they repeat the mirrored closet doors, but also offer multiple perspectives of the elements of the room—the paintings, surfaces, light. In interior decorator-speak, they “really open up the space.”