It is difficult not to speak of weight when considering the work of Graham Lambkin: gravity, the removal of weight, and loss. His work with music came into consciousness in the early 1990s through The Shadow Ring. The sound of the group involved a restless and sensitive move between genres and forms: a D.I.Y post-punk ethic merged with cracked electronics and a close sense of the texture, feel and force of language.
As in his continued solo work and dialogues with other musicians – from Salmon Run and Amateur Doubles to Breadwinner and Making A – Lambkin’s drawings emerge from an acute sense of specificity around the depths of sound. Here method is an underpinning and cohesive principle: an intimacy and economy of means, a fascination with the domestic field recording and its potential vulnerability, and a necessary faith in the generative and transgressive potential of coincidence.
In Moon blows close, Lambkin’s largest exhibition to date, his long-running gravitation towards the edge of things is played out across a live performance, a specifically conceived salon, and a body of new drawing and painting based work. The space for the sound-based activities takes the form of a 40-metre painted backdrop – a curved soft architecture and holding environment for Lambkin’s performance and subsequent sound work, as well as a space for his conversation with Ed Atkins.
The mode of display for the new suite of watercolours and drawings for Moon blows close is a system of screens – a nod to Lambkin’s ambivalent impulse of hiding, layering and revealing in the build up and articulation of his practice. Despite the undeniable drive in the work towards the space of being in the zone – a space of deep concentration and relinquishing to a process – there is also an underpinning and restless sense of an affective politics in the practice. A dual melancholy and sense of the transience of things felt in the central poem and ‘mood board’ of Moon blows close:
Turning in to meet a kiss
three soft words blow close
through the open aperture
sending the day’s last message
the future of wind on stone
Now it is quiet
He puts out his hand,
and touches wax.
Graham Lambkin is a multidisciplinary artist based in Upstate New York who first came to prominence in the early 90s through the formation of his music group The Shadow Ring. Following the dissolution of The Shadow Ring Lambkin embarked on a series of striking and highly original solo releases, including Salmon Run (2007) and Amateur Doubles (2012), a critically acclaimed trilogy with experimental tape musician Jason Lescalleet: The Breadwinner (2007), Air Supply (2010) and Photographs (2013), and Making A (2013), a collaboration with renowned table-top guitarist and founding member of the AMM group, Keith Rowe. His latest release, Schwarze Riesenfalter, sees Lambkin paired with Wandelweiser composer Michael Pisaro in a musical reimagining for the texts of Georg Trakl. Lambkin also curates the Kye label, which, since its conception in 2001 has published audio work by contemporary artists such as Vanessa Rossetto, Malcolm Goldstein, and Matt Krefting, as well as archival collections from the likes of Henning Christiansen, Moniek Darge, and Anton Heyboer. Five books of Lambkin’s art/text have been published to date: Unfocused Hands (2004), Dumb Answer To Miracles (2009), Dripping Junk (2010), Millows (2012), and most recently Came To Call Mine (2014), a collection of illustration and prose for children.