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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Ken Graves

Active:  US
Contemporary American photo-collagist. 
Artist statement: 
My work in assemblage reflects both my training as a traditional photographer and my fascination with image building. Working in the documentary tradition for the past 40 years, has refined my skill in surgically constructing new images that create those photographic illusions that have proven to be so seductive to me. The sources for this work include popular culture and medical journals from the thirties through the fifties. In making the assemblages I work up improbable episodes, exploits and ruptures.
Themes common to the collages are the blurring of child and adulthood, examination of the stereotypical athlete, and a dismantling of American myths using materials that popularize those same myths.

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Supplemental information

Ken Graves received an M.F.A and B. F.A from the San Francisco Art Institute, 1966-71. His work took a different direction in 1985. He began working with collage, expanding the strict use of the camera by traditional means.
Ken has co-authored two books. The first titled American Snapshots was in collaboration with the late Mitchell Payne. The process included going door to door searching for eclectic amateur snapshots. A second book Ballroom was published in 1987, and co-authored with Eva Lipman. Ken and Eva photographed dance competitions in U.S. and England for a period of nearly six years. Ken received two N.E.A. Fellowships one to gather snapshots for the first book and the other to begin a series of collages. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2001 for a work he calls “The Making of Men”. This body of work is currently in production with Verve Editions and was completed in collaboration with his wife.
Ken Graves has work collected in the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Museums of Modern Art in New York and San Francisco and the Brooklyn Museum.
The collages are a product of images collected over years from catalogs, illustrated books, charts, red cross instruction and wrestling manuals. Rather than the seamless electronic image, he prefers the pleasure of the hand process.
[Courtesy of Watermark Fine Art Photographs & Books, September 2007] 
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