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OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES, 2017, acrylic paint on wood panel, 10” X 8”
WAR CRY, 2017, acrylic paint on wood panel, 10” X 8”
Terry Graff is a full-time professional working artist who has maintained an active studio practice since 1975.
The recipient of major sculpture commissions, acquisitions, grants, and awards, his work has been presented regionally, nationally, and internationally, and includes mixed media drawings, paintings, collages, assemblages, sculpture, kinetic works, and multi-media installations.
In the 1970s, Graff began fusing images of ducks with machinery as a visual expression of the process of becoming modified or transformed for survival in a dystopian world. Over the years, he has continued to employ dark humour to draw attention to serious social, political and environmental issues, creating a wide range of “Eco-Deco” works: “ornithotronic” constructions and sculpture, robotic duck decoys, mechanical simulations of wetland environments and other ecological systems, and futuristic, post-apocalyptic aviaries that often include quirky visual source material from his childhood encoded or embedded with cultural constructions of nature and that reference old-fashioned shooting galleries and pinball machines. At once humorous and horrific, Graff’s most recent work, “The WARBIRD Series”, continues his focus on hybridizations of nature and technology through the fusion of birds with war machinery and combat weaponry in a black comedy of nature fighting back.
Born in Cambridge (Galt), Ontario, Canada, Graff studied Fine Art at the Doon School of Fine Arts, Doon, Ontario, and Fanshawe College of Applied Arts and Technology, London, Ontario. He received a B.A. in Fine Art from the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, and a B.Ed in Visual Arts from the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario. He also studied art history, philosophy of art, media arts, and art education at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, received a postgraduate diploma in Fine Art (M.F.A. equivalent) from the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Masstricht, the Netherlands, and holds a M.A. in Art Education from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, Nova Scotia (Thesis: Art and Ecological Vision).
Along with his intensive studio practice, Graff has had a distinguished career as a curator, art educator, art writer, and gallery director. He has served as director of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Mendel Art Gallery, Rodman Hall Arts Centre, Confederation Centre Art Gallery, and Struts Gallery. He has curated over 200 exhibitions, authored numerous articles, catalogues, and books on both contemporary and historical art, and taught drawing and sculpture at Mount Allison University. As a tireless advocate for the importance of art in people’s lives and as an essential ingredient for the health and well-being of communities, Graff has served as a volunteer on numerous committees and boards in support of cultural activity, has provided public service as a consultant and arts juror at regional and national levels, and has supported countless artists in a variety of capacities. In recognition of his various cultural contributions across Canada, he has received many awards and honours, including the Fanshawe College Distinguished Alumni Award; The Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan (Official Honour of the Crown recognizing individuals who have made a significant contribution to the Province of Saskatchewan); the Christina Sabat Award for Art Criticism in Atlantic Canada sponsored by the Sheila Hugh MacKay Foundation; and two eagle feathers from the Mi’kmaq First Nation for his work in promoting the art of aboriginal artists.
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