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Breaking Boundaries: A Conversation about the Art of Patrick Graham

Release date: June 30, 2014

Artist Patrick Graham has been credited with changing the face of contemporary painting in Ireland. Graham's inspiration is deeply rooted in the Irish landscape, in vistas and places that hold deep meaning for him. His work incorporates ambiguous symbolic forms and scripted phrases that resonate like fragments of traditional song and lyrical poetry which spring from a unique historical consciousness; through them he explores the elemental processes of life and the existential journey. Among the realities he acknowledges in a sensitive voice is the Irish religious experience, particularly of the Catholic faith, yet his work has universal appeal to those who struggle with issues of identity, freedom, or faith.

This panel discussion, held on November 11, 2012, brings together five distinguished voices to consider the art of Patrick Graham from the perspectives of a curator and art historian, an art critic, a gallery director, and two noted scholars of Irish culture.


Related exhibition Patrick Graham: Thirty Years - The Silence Becomes the Painting Producer: David Brinker
Videography: Jonathan Grimm
Editing: Tangent Mind, LLC


Patrick Graham: Breaking Boundaries panelfrom left: Jack Rutberg, Peter Selz, Ellen Crowell, Kenneth Baker, Eamonn Wall. Photo by Jeffrey Vaughn.

Featured Speakers

Peter Selz, Professor Emeritus of Art History
University of California - Berkeley
curator of Patrick Graham: Thirty Years
more about Peter Selz

Peter Selz is a renowned curator of contemporary art as well as a historian of German Expressionism. He arrived in the United States in 1936 where he was introduced to many New York and European artists by a distant relative Alfred Stieglitz. Selz became the curator of the department of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1958. At the Modern, his exhibitions included the 1960 Jean Tinguely "Homage to New York," a sculpture that destroyed itself (and started a fire) in the sculpture garden of the Museum. In 1965 he curated a comprehensive exhibition of Alberto Giacometti's work. That same year he was called to the University of California, Berkeley to found the university's art museum. Peter Selz served as its director from 1965 to 1973. He is known most recently for his provocative, politically charged exhibitions like "The Art of Engagement", which showed at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center in 2006.

Kenneth Baker, art critic
San Francisco Chronicle
more about Kenneth Baker

Kenneth Baker, Chief Art Critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, is one of the best-known art writers in the United States. He is a native of the Boston area, and served as art critic for the Boston Phoenix before joining the Chronicle. He has contributed to numerous publications, including Artforum, Art in America and the New York Times Book Review. Mr. Baker has also authored Minimalism: Art of Circumstance (Abbeville Press, 1989/1997).

Jack Rutberg, Director
Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, Los Angeles
more about Jack Rutberg

Jack Rutberg is owner and director of Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, in Los Angeles, a gallery established in 1979. He has lectured extensively on a wide range of subjects related to Modern and Contemporary art in colleges and universities, including the University of California - Los Angeles, California State University - Northridge, Utah State University, and has been a guest speaker at the Douglas Hyde Museum in Dublin, the Crawford Museum in Cork, Ireland, Portland Art Museum in Oregon, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Long Beach Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Laguna Art Museum. Rutberg is the international representative for the art of Patrick Graham, and has written extensively on the artist.

Special Guests

Ellen Crowell, Associate Professor of English
Saint Louis University, St. Louis
more about Ellen Crowell

Ellen Crowell (Ph.D University of Texas at Austin) is an Associate Professor of English at Saint Louis University, with areas of emphasis in modernism, Irish Studies and the Literature of the American South. Her work illuminates the pre-history of modernism as a historical period heralding a transformative change in political, social, and aesthetic expression. Particular areas of focus include: Modernist writing in English; the cultural history of Decadence and Aestheticism; Queer Theory and the History of Sexuality; Film Studies and Modernist Cinema; and Irish Studies, with particular emphasis on Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, and Elizabeth Bowen. Her publications include Aristocratic Drag: The Dandy in Irish and American Southern Fiction (Edinburgh, 2007).

Eamonn Wall, Smurfit-Stone Corporation Professor
of Irish Studies
University of Missouri - St. Louis
more about Eamonn Wall

Eamonn Wall (Ph.D. City University of New York) is a native of Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, Ireland. He is the Smurfit-Stone Corporation Professor of Irish Studies at University of Missouri - St. Louis. He has published five collections of poetry: A Tour of Your Country (2008), Refuge at De Soto Bend (2004), The Crosses (2000), Iron Mountain Road (1997), and Dyckman-200th Street (1994). From the Sin-E Cafe to the Black Hills: Notes on the New Irish, a book of literary and personal essays about the Irish Diaspora, received the Michael J.Durkan prize from the American Conference for Irish Studies as the best book published internationally in the field of Language & Literature in 2000. Wall's latest book is Writing the Irish West: Ecologies and Traditions (University of Notre Dame Press, 2011).