Springs, New York's light and natural beauty have long pulled at many of America’s most prolific artists, including Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. Sculptor, friend and frequent collaborator Graham Skeate’s current presence in Springs reflects a persistent theme in his body of work - the juxtaposition between process and chance. Three months ago, he fell into an opportunity to be the winter caretaker of a local artist’s studio and archive. Intrigued by the prospect of witnessing his process first hand, we headed out east to visit and catch up. When we arrived we found Graham in the yard, meticulously arranging small, detuned concrete objects into a series of methodically crafted concrete and oak drawers. After graciously taking us through his space, I asked Graham if he wouldn't mind providing insight into his current motivations. The following words are his own.
"The rural forks of Long Island call various people for various reasons; for me, it’s the wooded splendor coupled with the ocean, alongside agricultural, fishing and artistic history. It’s interesting for me to be here, now, witnessing the homes and works and headstones of the artists that made their way further and further out over the years, like some artistic Homestead Act. The area’s creative energy is well established, enjoyed, exploited, but still inextricably linked with the area’s fundamentals. Such lasting bonds are due to a healthy muse.
I find repetition and routine deeply peaceful and informative. Either I fell into their current because of this, or I naturally seek patterns that revisit and inspect the everyday, the commonplace. Ideas and stimulus can seemingly come from circumstance, blindly, almost gifted, but there are so many recurrent layers each revelation rests upon. We often have a superficial understanding of our simplest impulsions, while our chosen actions are seen as separate and guiding. I wanted to get specifically basic and underlying with these works, creating objects I ritually encounter and use. And then use them. They themselves are less the works than the space defined within. That is the core. That is a true space. A micro-proving ground in all its expansive potentiality. The resulting objects and partitions within are simply a result of what these interactions called for."
More of Graham's work can be viewed on Alto Relievo.
Photography by Glen Allsop.