Biography

[Covington, LA ::: b. 1987, Atlanta, GA]

LAURA TANNER GRAHAM's drawings and installations are often discussed as part of the Southern Gothic literary tradition, sharing similar themes with authors such as Flannery O’Connor and Eudora Welty. As a Georgia native, Graham's work seeks to understand the ways in which pattern and printed textiles are informed by social and political movements. Her narratives are tightly bound to antebellum traditions while balancing the changing ideals of the new generation of southern society.

Graham received her MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BFA from Florida State University. She has exhibited nationally in both group and solo exhibitions including the Weatherspoon Art Museum, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Athens Institute of Contemporary Art. She has also been a visiting artist at Tulane University and Valdosta State University.  In 2016, Graham was awarded a fellowship and residency at the Ucross Foundation and the Vermont Studio Center. Graham is currently living and making work in New Orleans, LA. 


STATEMENT |||

My research explores the history of pattern and printed textiles and the ways in which they reflect social and political movements.  Both narrative and non-objective pattern absorb the history of the time they were conceived.  They operate as vessels for nostalgia. Textiles, particularly those that are narrative in nature, can also directly reflect the interests of both the owner and the creator through subversive imagery that often emulates propaganda.  I borrow much of my imagery from the French toile patterns of the 18th century.  These narrative patterns have a rich history in condemning the aristocracy, exposing their fallacies and ridiculing their tyrannical pursuits. I find these narratives especially poignant in today’s turbulent political climate.  Adapting traditional characters and settings from these patterns, I construct new narratives that record contemporary accounts of racial, sexual, and gender injustice.

Working with gender and racially charged content in the south can be complicated. I use the decorative and the beautiful as subterfuge, easing viewers into the content through the veil of nostalgia.  The collage-like methodology with which the work is created points to the social rules and hierarchies in which delicately constructed and carefully arranged production intentionally alters perception. Pastel targets and altered gendered motifs signal a collective resistance to continued persecution and inequity that plagues the country.  With each drawing, I strive to create a continuous narrative that chronicles the Western struggle with diversity in the face of white fragility. 

CURRICULUM VITAE |||

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EDUCATION
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: Masters of Fine Arts (2013)
Florida State University:  Bachelor of Fine Arts (2009)

AWARDS, FELLOWSHIPS and RESIDENCIES
2016    Fellow and Resident, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT
            Fellow and Resident, Ucross, Foundation, Clearmont, WY
            Fellow and Resident, Hamidge Center, Rabun Gap, GA (scheduled)
2012    Brody Gallery, Living Arts of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK
2011    Creative and Performing Arts Fellowship Grant, University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign
2010    Brody Fellowship, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

SOLO and TWO-PERSON EXHIBITIONS
2017    Pins & Needles, Sella-Granata Art Gallery, Tuscaloosa, AL
           (scheduled) Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2014    Constructs, VSU Fine Arts Gallery, Valdosta, GA (two man show)
2013    Of Skin and Bristle, Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL
2012    Darned Delicates, New Genre Festival XIX, Living Arts of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK
            Laura Tanner, WIU Art Gallery, Macomb, IL
2011    n to Watch, Figure One Gallery, Champaign, IL

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2016    Paper Trails, Danny Saladino Gallery, Covington, LA
2015    Louisiana Contemporary, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA
            35th Bradley International Drawing and Print Exhibition, The Contemporary Art Center
            of Peoria, Peoria, IL
            Faculty Exhibition, Southeastern Louisiana University Contemporary Art Gallery,
            Hammond, LA
2014    Art on Paper 2014: The 43rd Exhibition, Weatherspoon Art Museum,
            Greensboro, NC
            In Site, Pierro Gallery, South Orange, NJ
            Faculty Exhibition, Southeastern Louisiana University Contemporary Art Gallery,
            Hammond, LA
2013    Worked, ATHICA Gallery, Athens, GA Peanut Gallery, Chicago, IL
            Post-Conceptual Glitter, Lawton Gallery, University of Wisconson, Green Bay,
            Green Bay, WI
2012    Art Basil, Link Gallery, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL
            YouEyeYouSee, CoProsperity Sphere, Chicago, IL
2011    No Dead Artists, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans, LA