“Varied, Understated, Serious and Humorous" - 10 Questions to Jeff Grant

By Dirk Vanduffel - Thursday, August 11, 2016
“Varied, Understated, Serious and Humorous" - 10 Questions to Jeff Grant

The work of Jeff Grant (b. 1975) is forthright in its perplexity. Every piece he creates centers on concealment, the ambiguous presence, forcing the viewer to engage in a search. In a way, some of his works appear distressing. They are not abstract, although shapes and objects seem blurred and disturbed. His chosen palette, black and white or colors dimmed and subtle, only emphasizes the mental haze. Portrait outlines are fuzzy and the objects from Grant's "Creation" series appear as fantastical artefacts with tortured surfaces, holding turbulent air underneath.

“Varied, understated, serious and humorous" - 10 questions to Jeff Grant

The work of Jeff Grant (b. 1975) is forthright in its perplexity. Every piece he creates centers on concealment, the ambiguous presence, forcing the viewer to engage in a search. In a way, some of his works appear distressing. They are not abstract, although shapes and objects seem blurred and disturbed. His chosen palette, black and white or colors dimmed and subtle, only emphasizes the mental haze. Portrait outlines are fuzzy and the objects from Grant's "Creation" series appear as fantastical artefacts with tortured surfaces, holding turbulent air underneath.

Grant takes on the role of inventor or mad scientist; experimenting with living organisms, building strange machines and constructing artificial worlds. As Grant describes it, his work "deals with ambiguities and over-determinations inherent in or applied to familiar images and forms".

In our 10 questions interview, Jeff Grant sheds light on his work and his creative process.

1) How did you know that you wanted to become an artist?

I didn't know, and I still don't, but I find excitement with my practice and have no desire to stop now.

2) How would you describe your art?

Varied, understated, serious and humorous.  I use materials that make sense for the projects I work on, but also let materials inform the projects I develop. Generally I am interested in how history and memory contribute to the creative process of combining various elements into something recognizable, understandable, or relatable.  

3) Is it hard to be an artist?

It can be.

Jeff Grant, Creation stutter, 2015. Book page fragment and sandpaper on paper, 28 x 46 cm. Courtesy of the artist and LMAKgallery, NYC 

Jeff Grant, Bosch 58. The Creation, 2011. Book page and sandpaper on paper. 33 x 20.3 cm. Courtesy of the artist and LMAKgallery, NYC

Jeff Grant, Creation sandpit, 2016. Book page fragment on archival inkjet print. 11.1 x 14.5 cm. Courtesy of the artist and LMAKgallery, NYC

4) What is your greatest achievement so far?

Maintaining an enthusiasm in making my work, and an interest in the work itself.

5) Which contemporary artists do you follow?

Bruce Nauman, Chantal Akerman, Roni Horn, Richard Tuttle, Gabriel Orozco, Béla Tarr, Claire Denis, to name a few.

6) What do you do when you are not happy with the result?

I keep working until I find the result adequately compelling, or I put the work away and see if I can reuse the materials for another work. Sometimes I throw things away.

7) Do you need to explain your art?

I find it better if the art is not explained before it is viewed. After that, my work should not be explained to any great length.  Explanation usually damages the work in my experience.

8) Do you want to try something else in the future?

I always try other things, and will keep doing so.

Jeff Grant, Head air 9, 2015. Graphite and colored pencil on paper. 61 x 45.8 cm. Courtesy of the artist and LMAKgallery, NYC

Jeff Grant, Left: Buddy, Right: Pal, both 2016. Each: Graphite and colored pencil on paper. Each: 61 x 45.8 cm. Courtesy of the artist and LMAKgallery, NYC

9) What are you afraid of?

Misery.

10) What is your ultimate dream?

I don't know.

 Jeff Grant, Withershins, 2011. Lamp with florescent light bulb and toy animals. 25.4 cm diameter, height varies. Courtesy of the artist and LMAKgallery, NYC

Dirk defines the overall policy of ArtDependence Magazine, in addition to conducting interviews. He specializes in valuation and auctioning.

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Museo Jumex (a private art collection based in Mexico City, Mexico) / David Chipperfield. Image © Simon Menges

Museo Jumex (a private art collection based in Mexico City, Mexico) / David Chipperfield. Image © Simon Menges

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