Improbable combinations and Incidental Matters

by Jessica Burko


Upon entering the gallery space this month it is the quiet subtlety of the exhibition that first makes an impression. Incidental Matters is the latest body of work by Julie S Graham in which she portrays her reactions to the randomness of structures and histories that she sees impacting one another in time and space. These personal encounters reflect the arbitrary relationships between seemingly disparate forms and an echo of conversations between them can be heard as voices within the gallery walls. Graham finds inspiration for her work in industrial spaces where she contemplates marks on walls and details in the architecture often missed by the casual eye. It’s the minutiae in these spaces that speak to her of the past and the rich history of who and what came to pass.


The title of her exhibition Incidental Matters is meaningful in the understanding of her focus; what appears secondary and inconsequential becomes substantive and imbued with relational meaning. Each piece on view is a multi-layered painting transformed through its development; sanded, scraped, built and rebuilt. Of her work Graham explains, “I favor unusual color juxtapositions, materials that are used purely out of functional need and shapes that that are not intentionally designed, but rather appear from the history of their making.” It’s this organic process that fosters an exchange between canvasses, mimicking observed things connected at random in the world.


The center gallery of Graham’s exhibition is produced with a slightly separate approach. This grouping, presented in unexpected configurations of small works, is titled Remains. The canvasses in this adjacent space begin their lives from leftover paint and surplus materials from larger works. As Graham explains, “Each piece holds the histories of preceding works until it finally takes on a life, and reason, of its own.” With this statement she circles back to her original insight of seeing beneath the surface into the often hidden nature of change.

Incidental Matters is on view at Kingston Gallery through October 29, 2017. For more information visit:

Join us this weekend to view Julie S Graham’s evocative work while experiencing live music with Palaver Strings. Sunday, October 15, 1:30 – 3:30pm. This event is free and open to the public.

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