Graham Fletcher—Spirit Rooms

Graham Fletcher is interested in juxtaposing cultures—specifically, the jarring and discordant power and mystery in profoundly spiritual totems, icons, and artefacts assigned as decoration in 1950s and 60s-era styled lounge rooms. Fletcher’s mid-century modern settings are architectural, painterly, and richly coloured—burnt oranges and plaid, alongside Arne Jacobson and Ray and Charles Eames furnishings. Then, in corners and on walls are tribal objects from Oceania —a home museum or domestic creativity, though for Fletcher—complex cultural legacies torn from a denser native context.

Spirit Rooms marks Fletcher’s first solo exhibition for Sophie Gannon Gallery. This new body of work does not pivot from his ongoing Lounge Room Tribalism series, rather it is a part of a slow evolution of the artist’s deep fascination on the topic. Maybe drawn from his own contrasted European and Samoan lineage, Fletcher’s concept lounge rooms “mimic the widespread European tradition of housing collections of Oceanic or African tribal art in domestic settings,” which serves to underscore “ideas of displacement, assimilation, resistance, and interdependence,” as he explains.

For Spirit Rooms, Fletcher has chosen to focus especially on latent magical energies and the Pacific Islander idea of ‘mana’: a sacred impersonal force freely navigating the universe that can inhabit both people and inanimate objects. Fletcher’s totems and idols are a silent presence in each serene setting, emitting a soft but ominous pulse – their original energy and intention not entirely ever lost in their new scenery.  

Exhibition essay for Spirit Rooms by Graham Fletcher at Sophie Gannon Gallery.

Image, Graham Fletcher, Spirit rooms (red II), 2017.