For his exhibition Still Blue Skies, Gray presents a new collection of signature paintings that utilize classical painting motifs, inspired by 17th century Dutch and Flemish masters, as a point of departure. In his highly stylized and colorful works, curiosity cabinets, letter boards, table settings and other commonplace structures are transformed into surreal tableaus, littered with artifacts mined from the depths of the artist’s psyche, or drawn from the sanctity of his immediate studio environment. His aesthetic is characterized by a specific hard line visual language, achieved by combining a process of laborious hand-cut masking techniques with his commitment to aerosol paints as his primary medium.
Themes of leisure, longing, and the search for balance related to Gray’s suburban youth, counter-culture spirit and love of nature are expressed through a nonhierarchical language of quotidian symbols; shoelaces, banana peels, T-shirts, plants, seashells, and other domestic sundries. The shallow depth of field and uniform lighting conditions of his images translate an interest in the deceptive quality of trompe l’oeil as a metaphor and coping mechanism for the superficiality and disillusion of the digital age.
Whether Gray’s images are rooted in real or digital space is to be decided by the imagination. Ultimately, the environments he constructs are meant to intrigue and confound viewers, while simultaneously offering a moment of reconciliation and clarity.