Small Paintings

October 19 - November 23, 2013

Small Paintings

by Eric Gray

Though Eric was born in San Diego California, his formative years were spent in Japan. He attended Yochien (Japanese Kindergarten). He spoke Japanese as though it was his native tongue - in fact - he spoke it with the accent of the Ibarakiken prefecture in which he lived. Even when he returned to the United States, he found it more comfortable to communicate to his sister in Japanese. During his college years (at Principia College in Elsah IL) - a time when he was trying to better understand and develop his aesthetic preferences - it was Japan that beckoned. He spent more time in Japan then and in these visits he was especially inspired by the traditional Japanese zen aesthetic. It is in the values of "wabi-sabi"- in the aesthetic sensibilities of the tea ceremony - and in the works and lives of monks like Sen no Rikyu that still are at the core of Ericfs work. It showed him that it is more creative to create rules than to break them. It showed him that at the heart of the creative act is discipline and order. It showed him that spontaneity and impulse do not need to be courted or even encouraged but also not forbidden. It showed him that contradictions are inherent.

All of Eric's paintings stem from his own internal rules and agreements.
Agreements that dictate "living thinking" - agreements that help to avoid the meretricious - agreements that are felt more often than known. However some of the rules or agreements are more tangible. In the project Elsah100 - the paintings would be of Elsah IL (they were largely painted while Eric was the primary care taker of his two small children) - they would be on pre-made canvas sized 6" X 8" - and there specific names would be numbers between 1 and 100. Backyard and Backyard Studio stem from the limitations imposed on Eric by Eric during his time spent in a suburban home in Davis CA. River Road is part of a series of landscapes that Eric has returned to over the years.

In addition to painting, Eric's art is a social practice. Just this summer his piece entitled "I am Muhammed al-Qahtani" part of a larger MFA thesis show for Washington University at the Kemper Art Museum in St. Louis MO, involved the museum audience and engaged the larger community. He is currently collaborating with several others in starting a high school based on many of the ideas of Rudolf Steiner (a primary influence on the transformational German artist Joseph Beuys). The Central Vermont High School Initiative is a site specific education located on the Campus of Goddard College in Plainfield VT. Eric is currently working and largely residing on Spruce Mountain in Plainfield Vermont. He is continuing to work on his small paintings while engaging the larger community with CVHSI.


Selected Exhibitions::

2013 Satellite Highway
St. Louis MO

2013 MFA Thesis
Kemper Museum, St. Louis MO

2012 Reading ISN 063 Interrogation Log
Bank, St. Louis MO

2012 Juvenile Delinquents
St Louis MO

2010 ART in Embassies Program, US Department of State, Manila, The Philippines

2010 Contemporary Oil Painting
Chez M Gallery, Washington, District of Columbia

2009 Finding Restraint
Potomac Boat Club, Washington, District of Columbia


MFA Washington University
Rudolph Steiner College
Honolulu Academy of the Arts
Principia College
Yochien, Tsukuba Japan


Contemporary Jewelry Exhibition

Oct. 25 - Nov. 30, 2011


We are exhibiting group show of Japanese contemporary Jewelry at this event.

The four of us met through our interests in contemporary jewelry and a shared common compassion for art. Some of us are based in the U.S, others are in Japan, working on expressing our individual point of views and subject matter. Our first exhibition will take place in Gallery Chez M in Washington DC.

As we were in the process of finalizing the plan for this exhibition, the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred and left a massive impact on the world. Each of us deeply contemplated what we can do as Japanese nationals and also as artists to over come this incident since then. The answer was to channel all of our ability as artists to our creations for rising awareness of Japanese artists.

This is our starting point of exhibiting our work to the world.

I hope to see you at the Gallery Chez M.

Atsuko Bauman: http://atsukobauman.com

Maki Kawawa: http://www.kawawamaki.com

Misato Iijima: http://misatoiijima.com

Rie Kakuda: http://www.riekakuda.com

Blog: http://ammr-jewelry.blogspot.com/



Jewelry Exhibition

Oct. 25 - Nov. 30, 2011



Earthenware & Porcelain




Oil Painting

April 24 - May 23, 2010

Brief description of Eric's artwork:

Gray's work is mainly oil on canvas. Abstracted landscapes and interiors, sometimes with figures, constitute his subject matter. Gray's art is equally influenced by having spent his formative years in Japan and by the aesthetics of Western painters such as Cezanne, Matisse, and Diebenkorn.

Aesthetic statement:

"I seek to create a visual conversation between austerity and ecstasy. My art is an attempt to represent the natural balance of my more ordered influences with my more chaotic ones. It is a quest to be free of constraints while at the same time seeking constraints. It is finding that order and chaos are not mutually exclusive, but dependent on each other."

Press Release from recent show:

52nd City's Interview with Gray for 123 Money: I heard there was something else

Artist Eric Gray has a very subtle quality to his art as well as his personality. Traveling from the quiet town of Elsah, IL where he and his wife currently live. Eric spends his time taking care of his son while slowly building a body of artwork which includes drawings, collages and most importantly, oil paintings.

I asked him about the raw look of his paintings and he responded with, "sometimes it's not about the final result", then he adds, "the history of the painting, the process of me painting it is the painting...getting to a point of simplicity" and ending with "I work really hard to make it look like I'm not working really hard".

When you look at his work you'll see pure emotion displayed along with sophisticated compositions and interesting color schemes. His work starts with something from the external world but ends up representing a space from his internal world. I like to describe his work like a bridge built from the tension that exists between reality and the abstract. A bridge you can safely walk on. Be sure to take your time and enjoy the view.

On Friday Feb 6 City Art Supply will host a small, informal opening for Eric Gray's work which will hang in the shop until Feb 28.



2010 Contemporary Oil Painting, Chez M Gallery, Washington, District of Columbia
2010 Eric Gray: Chaordic Works, Baked & Wired Cafe, Washington, District of Columbia
2009 Eric Gray: Finding Restraint Potomac Boat Club, Washington, District of Columbia
2009 123 Money: I heard there was something else, City Art Supply, St. Louis, Missouri
2007 Eric Gray: Landscapes and Interiors,Holt Gallery, Principia College, Elsah, Illinois
2006 9H, Winters, California
2005 Worldblu, Washington, District of Columbia
2002 Another Look at Home, Beyond Words Gallery, Prescott, Arizona
2001 Salvatos Gallery and Cafe, St. Louis, Missouri
2001 Wisconsin Avenue Exhibition, Washington, District of Columbia


2010 Main Street Gallery, Edwardsville, Illinois
2009 Grafton Art Fair, Grafton, Illinois
2007 Fall Auction, Madison Country Arts Council, Alton, Illinois
2005 Art Auction, Honolulu Waldorf School, Hawaii
2000 Rendezvous '99, Gallery 10, Alton, Illinois


2010 ART in Embassies Program, U.S. Department of State, Manila, The Philippines


2007 Worldblu, Austin, Texas


2008 - 2010 The Monastic House, Gray Family, Elsah, Illinois
2008 - 2010 Beltline Project, GRAY+DESIGN, Godfrey, Illinois
2009 Rock Wall and Column, Sun Smith-Foret, Elsah Illinois
2008 Mural Project, Pere Marquette Detention Center, Grafton, Illinois
2008 Project Grafton, The Principia College, Grafton, Illinois
2006 Trip to the Dump, D. Alex Gray, Davis, California


2007 View Art in Book Format
2006 Book of Reconstructions
2006 Scroll
2006 vii
2006 Frank
2006 Institutions


2005 Rudolf Steiner College, Fairoaks, California
2003-2005 Honolulu Waldorf High School Arts and Humanities Teacher, Hawaii
2000 Honolulu Academy of the Arts, Hawaii
2000 Bachelor of Arts, Studio Art and World Perspectives, Principia College, Elsah, Illinois
1995 Iolani High School, Honolulu, Hawaii
1982-1984 Yochien, Tskuba, Japan


Eric Gray was born in San Diego California in 1977. His family soon moved to Japan where he spent his formative years and attended Yochien (Japanese Kindergarten). Returning to Tokyo while in college, Gray deepened his kinship with the culture. Though Gray's art education is classically western, his relationship with the aesthetics of Japan is the foundation for his work.

Gray works in three distinct threads and, at times, they weave together. One is painting and drawing his surroundings. The influences of traditional Japan, Cezanne, Morandi, Matisse, and Diebenkorn, among others, permeates his work. Gray draws constantly. Motifs include his wife reading/knitting or scenes found through simply looking in and around his studio. Second, Gray works in an abstract mode which he calls Chaordic, stemming from a book by Dee Hawk. It is work that seeks to find harmony between impulse and restraint, between chaos and order.

Lastly, "Reconstructions" describes Gray's art which are re-workings of found objects or the re-shaping of existing works. A Reconstruction can include words, sculpture, collage, video, or a community collaborative work. In Spring 2008, Project Grafton, a collaborative multimedia, multidisciplinary college course proposed by Gray, was implemented at Principia College. In 2008/9, Gray directed the design and implementation of a large mural at the Pere Marquette Girls Juvenile Detention Center.

Gray has shown his work in every place he has lived. His work is found from Tokyo to Austin. At a show in Winters, California in 2006, he transformed a warehouse into a gallery which included a site specific installation called "Institution." The dismantling of "Institutions" led to the video "Trip to the Dump" where the installation found its final resting place. Recently, Gray has been working on the "Beltline Project," an ongoing chaordic collaboration - a re-contextualization of strip malls using upper Alton, IL as a focus. He is also in the process of overseeing a public mural project in downtown Alton with the girls from Pere Marquette. These endeavors are part of a larger collaboration to revitalize the Alton area through the arts.

Through all these projects, it is painting and drawing his immediate surroundings that is the constant. Gray seeks to find his freedom through restraint. It is in imposing an order on himself that he is able to harmonize his passions. Painting becomes a means of manifesting a conversation between his divergent tendencies and hopefully finding some beauty and peace along the way.

Eric's website: www.ericgray.net

Gallery hours:
Tues through Saturday, 12PM to 5PM. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
Hours are subject to change, please call the gallery at 202-333-3888 before your visit.

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