Pádraig Grant: The Actual
This September, Wexford Arts Centre is proud to present a body of work by Irish-born photographer Pádraig Grant in The Actual. This exhibition is a three-part series of works, offering the viewer an overview of a practice spanning 35 years.
Sometimes street based, sometimes landscape based, Grant is most frequently found at the interface of where the street portrait meets the landscape picture.
Grant’s work has been published in nine photographic book collections starting with ‘African Shadows’ in 1994 and culminating in the soon to be released ‘Wexford-Part 4’. He has worked as a freelance photojournalist for international and national publications and his work is held in many private and public collections.
Born in Wexford in a home surrounded by photographic history, Grant’s initiation into photography was through the dark art of traditional darkroom printing; where chemistry, artistry and magic combine to make, what the great American landscape photographer Ansel Adams would call, “expressive prints”. Grant still photographs and prints with silver based traditional methods but as you will see from this exhibition his work is now produced using many different methods.
The Actual aims to engage the viewer with images gathered from Grant’s collections that are portrayed in a new light and exploring and celebrating the three strands of Grant’s photographic practice. The exhibition will trace Grant’s development as an image maker from 1981 right up to the present day.
The ‘Wexford Heritage Series’ featuring photographs made over 30 years in Wexford in the classic European flaneur, humanist style Grant is so well known for. The second, ‘Foreign Affairs’, is inspired by Grant’s work as both a photojournalist and a travel photographer. The third part, ‘Experiment‘, is an exhibition of very large prints, diptychs and triptychs, short films etc. incorporating Grant’s contemporary photographic works.
While these are distinct bodies of work individually, they all exert an influence on each other. Grant explores lens based and non-lens based photographic methods throughout his work, using chemistry and craft, echoing a hand’s on, physical effort to make images heavily influenced by classic film noir cimematography, all the while touching on experimentation.
The exhibition’s theme is based partly on the opening text of the Saul Bellow novella ‘The Actual’ which states that “It’s easy enough to see what people think they’re doing”. (The Actual, Saul Bellow, 1997)
For Grant, this is the nub of what Photography is, “the idea that the viewer is witnessing reality and are accomplices to some great, esoteric, cosmic joke. But there is no absolute, peer reviewed, independently accredited reality. We only have our own flawed perspective and bias. The actual is not the factual. In our search for meaning we all bring our baggage to what we see.”- Pádraig Grant.
Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 5pm