Things That Kill- Graham Shutt

Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

“Consider, for example, such varied assassins as leaded water, pills, red meat, too much sun…. Consider, for a moment more, that of the many things that kill, countless are appealingly beautiful as well as lethal, seducing artist and viewer. How to handle these “killers” in such a way that the intended expressive implications are conveyed, is as formidable an artistic challenge as engaging the more overt content implied by the show’s title.” -Norman Lundin

Including work by: Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #24 Part 2: Graham Shutt


1. In what way is you work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill?”
If my photograph, The New / Oxford / Annotated / Bible // with the / Apocrypha // Expanded / Edition // Revised / Standard / Version // An Ecumenical / Study Bible // Oxford (2016), reflects the theme “Things That Kill,” it does so indirectly as I’ll attempt to explain below.

2. Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
Norman Lundin remarks in his curator’s comment for the current exhibition, “In our last thematic show, Observing Observing (a white cup), the content . . . was essentially emotionally neutral, devoid of psychological associations. . . . In Things That Kill, because of all the psychological associations, the content is the polar opposite of the ‘white cup.’ It is this red button content that is challenging.”

Because my photographs tend to be about processes rather than representations of identifiable subject matter with which one associates specific emotions, I found it helpful to interpret the prompts for both the previous exhibition and the current one in a slightly different manner. Rather than focusing on the emotional valence of the subject matter, I found I could think of Observing Observing as being about form and Things That Kill as being about content. My task, then, was to represent form in the case of Observing Observing and to represent content in the case of Things That Kill.

3. How did you approach the subject matter?
For Things That Kill I had thought to begin by photographing the text of the passage in Plato’s dialogue Apology of Socrates in which Socrates recounts the accusations brought against him by Meletus, that he is “guilty of corrupting the minds of the young, and of believing in supernatural things of his own invention instead of the gods recognized by the State” (24b – c). As we know, the jury finds Socrates guilty of all three charges and, in a separate vote, sentences him to death. As I worked I became interested in the books I was photographing. I decided to make a book rather than a text my subject.

4. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in Things That Kill ?
Even though I use a DSLR, a raster graphics editor, and an inkjet printer to make photographs, I nevertheless do as much work as I can in the camera. The principles of “straight” photography, first expounded by Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, and the other members of Group f.64, still hold true today.


“The New Oxford Annotated Bible / With the Apocrypha / Expanded Edition / Revised Standard Version / An Ecumenical Study Bible / Oxford”, 2016, archival inkjet print, 18 x 12″

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