Birds consistently appear throughout my work, a persistent subject since childhood conflated with dystopian themes of horror. Rather than focus on their seductive aesthetic beauty, I paint birds to speak to real-life hell-on-earth nightmares, of doomsday ecocide and the brutal carnage of war. Birds are literally the canary in the coal mine; their ever-declining numbers caused by catastrophic disruption of natural systems are a barometer of the environmental health of the planet and of the sustainability of humankind.
— Terry Graff is a multi-media visual artist who is best known for his evocative images of birds that speak to the conflicted relationship between nature and technology and to daringly dark existential themes, such as ecological collapse, the grim horrors of war, and the deadly Covid-19 pandemic. Comprising a blend of sci-fi fantasy, black humor, and apocalyptic angst, his mixed-media drawings, paintings, collages, assemblages, sculptures, kinetic works, and multi-media installations have been presented regionally, nationally, and internationally to both critical and popular acclaim.
Along with an intensive studio practice, Graff has had a distinguished career as a curator, art educator, art writer, and gallery director, and is the recipient of several awards and honors in recognition of his many cultural contributions. He has served as director of four public art galleries in four different provinces of Canada, curated over 200 exhibitions, authored numerous articles, catalogues, and books on both contemporary and historical art, and taught courses in drawing, painting, sculpture and arts management at the university level.