Solo Show – Materials of Survival – Magnet SF – November 2015
Prints from my Materials of Survival and Am I Blue? series – for sale
Materials of Survival Artist Book
This project was originally called ‘Am I Blue?’, but has broaden to create two bodies of work:. The new body of work is called “The Materials of Survival” and uses the drugs and other paraphernalia that HIV+ people needs to interact with in order to live with this disease.
The effects of years of struggle, uncertainty and survival has creating unexpected symbols and unforeseen reactions. Visual images capturing different aspects of being positive. How the antiviral cocktails achieve a larger meaning and a grander design. Memories of a test changing everything. Understanding communications typed in a foreign syntax necessary to live, How the old practices of safe sex have opened up with new horizons.
In their exhibition, Camerawork describes my work as:
San Francisco-based artist Grahame Perry will present his series titled Materials of Survival. This ongoing body of work is a highly imaginative reconfiguring of the visual elements in the life of an HIV-positive survivor. Perry’s at times fantastical depictions of pills, bottles, prescriptions, vials, and other paraphernalia provide a colorful but poignant visual vocabulary with which the artist tells his own story of struggle, uncertainty, memory, and survival. Perry’s work playfully combines graphic and symbolic photographic elements in the creation of abstract images that represent the very real process of the artist’s own quest for meaning and strength in the battle against HIV.
Click the link to see a larger version of “Every AIDS Obituary“.
The chasm between suspicion and confirmation was wide and unexpected The beginning of an undesired journey
The journey through several regimens over 20 years Something repeated enough becomes an obsession A quest to remain healthy to remain alive can be an obsession
We have had to master the language of AIDS Traveling through foreign territory looking for a passageway, we hoped existed This typewriter our Enigma
Blood filled vials Cells to be counted Held anticipation and emotions foretelling sickness and death A colorful design, a better present Fear has given way to routine
A handful of pills over twenty four years forms a calendar of a life guarding ones health A daily task has led to a vast vista.
A reminder of illness and dependence Crucial tasks fade with memory Only the most recent ones remembered
Healing Quilt. A mandala like design.. What one might see from above, the Memorial Quilt laid out, only half of it numbers shown. In spite of the devastating and vast losses, It is an instrument of remembrance and healing. Source of Panels: The Names Project Foundation – The AIDS Memorial Quilt
We read the obituaries as the epidemic grew Wondering whose mortality would be documented next So many deaths blended together Too much to bear Our collective mood darkened For many, the revolution of ‘96 was too late Today, an undeclared armistice The living making sense of our lives
Saying Ur clean / disease free / UB2 Shames the Positive Diminishes the Negatives More infected Most untested Many untreated
PrEP and viral loads change what’s safe Added to what we know revolutionizes our sexual intimacies
Looking Forward Life The past had no future It has returned Believed in, at least, when feeling strong Love Wrestling with Love through stigma and shame Incredible to have achieved both life and love Fear Fight or flight for so long Many unknowns still to anticipate Aging and it’s limits the hardest one to crack Making peace with the inevitable Once again Cure Last century’s miracle fades Colored pills aren’t enough, Free of this burden, in this life Perchance to dream what awaits us
Virus, T-cells, and anti-retroviral therapy Two figures watch Success lessens our will to fight
The original name of the project “Am I Blue?” will continue to be used to refer to the more autobiographical and personal work.
Some of the photographs from this series have been presented in the following shows and forums
- Solo show, Materials of Survival, at SF Magnet in November 2015
- Seven photographs were part of SF Camerawork’s “Long Term Survivor Project” (June 4 – July 18, 2015)
- “Every AIDS Obituary” was selected for the jurored show, Connections: Glitter Bomb (National Queer Arts Festival, June 2015)
- Editor’s Choice at LensCulture
- 3 images were selected for the Visual AIDS’ (online) gallery show, HAART in Art (September 2014, Visual AIDS site).
- Lecture for Photo 52, Photographers and Their Images at City College of San Francisco on September 16, 2013
- “Big Pharm” was selected – New Visions @ Rayko Photo Center – Jan – Feb 2014.
Magnet SF Show
Materials Show observed from outside
Magnet SF Opening (courtesy of OurTownSF)
Magnet Show – Gallery Wall
Magnet Show – 2nd Gallery Wall
Examing “Every AIDS Obituary”
Every AIDS Obituary on display in Glitter Bomb show
At SF Camerawork opening (courtesy Sonny Pichay)
Posing in front of Big Pharm at Rayko Photo Center
Show at Rayko Photo Center