March 5 – May 7, 2022
Saturday, March 12, 2022
5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
ClampArt is pleased to announce “Ken Graves/Eva Lipman | Restraint + Desire.” The exhibition coincides with the release of the artists’ monograph of the same title from TBW Books (Hardcover, 90 pages, 39 duotone plates, 10.5 x 9.25 inches, $50).
“Restraint + Desire” is the culmination of a lifelong creative partnership between husband and wife Ken Graves and Eva Lipman. Shooting the same subject simultaneously, the couple edits the film from both cameras, never revealing who clicked the shutter for the final photograph selected.
For decades Graves and Lipman documented high school dances, military ceremonies, football games, boxing matches, and other American social rituals, seeking to capture the complex intensity between humans often overlooked in these commonplace settings.
Writing for The New Yorker, Becca Rothfeld observes: “‘Restraint and Desire’ is a study of intimacy and its impediments: the tender images it contains portray longing (desire) when it is regulated by ritual (restraint). The [work] depicts perfectly ordinary exchanges in familiar, formalized settings. . . Yet each [space] is both an obstacle to and a condition of love’s consummation.”
These mostly prosaic happenings often reveal sexual tensions that Graves and Lipman saw not only in the world around them, but in their own relationship. As Lipman says, “our work reflected back to us, like a mirror, the intensities and power dynamics of our shared life together.”
With a profound visual sensitivity, Graves and Lipman collect human gestures that betray the complex interiority of their subjects. Hands often act here as the protagonist—grabbing, touching, reaching. Tim Adams in The Guardian described it as “the language of hands” and “the lexicon of touch.”
Ken Graves and Eva Lipman met while taking pictures of a ballroom dance competition in Ohio in 1986. They later married and began working collaboratively. Graves died in 2016 at the age of 74.