It's all Downhill from Here
March 20, 2010- June 2010
Reception: Saturday, March 20, 2010, 6:00 – 8:00pm
E6 Gallery, San Francisco
E61632 market street, san francisco, ca 94102
Robert Berman / E6 Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Los Angeles artist Cameron Gray. Respected art critic Peter Frank declares, “Cameron Gray has become a master of a kind of collage whose formal roots are in century-old trick technology but whose spiritual sources are in surrealism and pop art." Like Photomosaics, Gray's paintings exist on two visual levels. Each painting is made up of a large number of smaller paintings on 3" x 4" wood tiles. Visually, things are not what they seem. As you look closer the larger image breaks down to reveal the smaller paintings that transform a simple portrait into numerous separate cells, which have their unique properties that differ from one another. For instance, The Pornification of Everything, is a portrait of Mona Lisa made from 900 paintings of hardcore pornography and Can't See the Forest is an 8' x 15' painting of a forest made from 2,200 paintings depicting traffic, factories, urbanity and violence.
Behind Gray's art is his work with digital, network manufacturing. His work begins as digital studies, which are divided into hundreds of small pieces and then outsourced, to be painted, by other artists, colleagues and Facebook friends. By breaking the painting down into a grid of pixels and outsourcing the work, Gray builds a virtual factory by way of the Internet. The smaller images used are thematic and play a vital role in the depiction of the larger image. This modern approach is used to create what appears to be a traditional oil painting.
Frank expresses, “If there is a political or even social message in this, it is the viewer’s, not the artist’s. Then again, the artist is asking the viewer to zoom in and zoom out in order to “read” pictures in, and out of, other pictures. The multi-leveling of perception in this case is itself a statement about – or, perhaps, demonstration of – how we perceive the world. That is, we understand contemporary life and its newly digitized landscape as a sum of pixels that comprise some sort of whole – albeit a whole that is itself unstable and threatens to fall apart into its components every time we walk outside, talk with one another, or even boot up and log on. As such, Cameron Gray’s assemblages are the faces of our present reality. They are not the faces we see in the mirror, but the faces we see on one another – and on our many screens. They are animations made from many, many stills.” Or as Gray puts it, "At times the act of viewing itself becomes very physical or like a strange dance. The viewer must walk forward, then backward or lean in very close to see the work. I want the viewing experience to be visual, physical and conceptual all at once."