Walking up to the brick façade of an industrial NYC building, the rumble of a freight elevator vibrates through the entrance until it creeeeeaks to a halt on street level. The gate lifts. Paul Brainard pushes one foot down onto the bottom half of the freight elevator door so I can climb inside. Genial and quick, he leads me through a warren of artists’ studios, every space is spilling over with the alchemical instruments of the artist: tools, canvases, and paint. Nestled against a large window is Paul’s studio with a drawing table and painting shelf. After a few pleasantries, he reaches into a plywood painting rack and rotates with a golden frame that catches the evening light in a bloom of yellow. The drawing inside is so thick with gunmetal tone graphite it hardly resembles paper. Underneath glass, some images are suspended like intricate seahorses, in a thought-space, thick and transparent, like gelatin. Other images appear to dance languidly on the metallic ground. Paul talks briefly, painfully, about how both his parents passed away this year. He shows me a tattoo on his arm from an old New England gravestone rubbing. Everything, the language, people in his life, and images in his drawings, are appearing and receding like a tide. Paul addresses this topic we all eventually face with a solo show, My body is a grave, opening October 6th at the Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville, Virginia.