Rodney Graham (Canadian, b.1949) is well-known for his striking Conceptual Art. Graham was born in Matsqui, British Columbia, Canada, and he attended the University of British Columbia from 1968 to 1971. He also attended Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, from 1979 to 1980. While there, he was taught by Ian Wallace (Canadian, b.1943), a fellow Vancouver artist. Around the same time, Graham played with Jeff Wall (Canadian, b.1946) in the band UJ3RK5.
Graham draws his inspiration from different sources, including music, philosophy, and historical literature. Graham's work defies classification; he mixes his work with technology from the past, including musical texts, optical devices, and even films. Some of his early works include Rome Ruins (1978) and Camera Obscura (1979). In the 1980s, Graham developed a series of works related to Sigmund Freud, including The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud (1987). Graham made a series of videos and films in the 1990s in which he featured himself as the main character. Some of these videos include Halcion Sleep (1994), How I Became a Ramblin' Man (1999), and The Phonokinetoscope (2002).
Graham started to paint and draw in 2003. He mixed photography and painting in many of his works. One example of his work from this period is The Gifted Amateur, November 10th, 1962 (2007). Graham has held a number of solo exhibitions in different places, including at Simon Fraser University in Burnady, Canada (1979), the Galerie Johnen & Schöttle in Cologne, Germany (1986), and Hauser & Wirth in Zurich, Switzerland (2011). He has also been involved in different group exhibitions at locations including the Galeria Sala Uno in Rome, Italy (1986), the Art Gallery of York University in Toronto, Canada (1991), and the Swiss Institute in New York, NY (2011).
For his work, Graham has received awards including the Gershon Iskowitz Prize from the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation in Toronto, Canada (2004), the Kurt Schwitters-Preis 2006 in Niedersächsiche Sparkassenstiftung, Germany (2006), and the Audain Prize for lifetime achievement in Visual Arts in British Columbia (2011). Graham is represented by the Lisson Gallery in London, England, the Johnen Galerie in Berlin, Germany, and the 303 Gallery in New York, NY, among other galleries. Graham now lives and works in Vancouver.