Brenden Banfield and I met around a year ago, and when I first saw the collection by his deceased father, Lance Gravett, I instantly fell in love with the work. I was blown away to learn that this body of work had been sitting in storage for the 30+ years since his passing, it was truly too beautiful to not be recognized and I knew I needed to help Lance find the recognition he deserved.
The trouble initially was that we didn't really know that much about Brenden’s father. Lance and Brenden hadn't seen each other in many years, and though we had stories from Brenden’s mother and Lance’s ex wife Nana Morris, we were missing many details about Lance’s life from the 70’s and 80’s leading up to his death. I continued on my mission to work for Lance, but felt no one would ever appreciate the artwork without the story and had run into a dead end.
Through a series of what can only be described as serendipitous events such as a well-timed email from a random stranger who connected some dots for us, or a curator managing an estate collection who had a piece of Lance's sitting in the archives, or even an old friend googling Lance 34 years later - right as we are planning this exhibition, we unraveled the most wonderful and sometimes tragic story. The story of an artist who lived with sadness inside as he painted colorful and somewhat humorous depictions of the world around him.
Through letters, photographs, anecdotes from his childhood sweetheart Nana, son Brenden, ex girlfriends, studio mates and close friends we have taken what was a body of work in rolls in a garage and compiled a comprehensive story of a prolific artist who mentored under the great Richard Diebenkorn, longed to live like the great impressionists, obsessed over nature, and passed well before his time.
It has been my absolute pleasure to gather and archive details of the story of Lance's life, and I can't wait to share it all with you.
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A special thanks to all of those who have given so much to help in telling Lance’s story, especially Sheila Pinkel, Cheryl De Ciantis, Rosalinda Kolb, Heidi Katz, Richard Whitney, Brian Murphy, David James, Michael Clark, Liucija Baskauskas and Steve Anaya.