Garvey|Simon is pleased to present Alan Bray: Presence and Absence on view May 13—June 6, 2021 at Foley Gallery, 59 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002. An indoor/outdoor opening reception for the artist will take place on Friday, May 14, from 6-8pm. Masks required. The full exhibition will also be available on Artsy.
Alan Bray’s landscape paintings of his native, central Maine explore the ever-ebbing dynamic between nature and humanity. His paintings capture an asymmetrical pas de deux. Painted with uncompromising precision by his quick-drying casein tempera paint, Bray’s trailheads, shorelines, and vast horizons show evidence of previous human presence as it succumbs to natural growth. Bray’s stylized scenes center on these afterimages of human interference as well as other natural phenomena. Inundated with detail, nature reclaims swaths of scarred land, fallen trees, and dilapidated structures, returning them to their wild form. Natural phenomena such as wild overgrowth, animal tracks, mysterious forms, bogs, and mist are resplendently captured as homage to the rugged and uninhabited corners of secluded Maine.
Alan Bray builds his landscapes with numerous layers of quick-drying casein tempera. Often used in Italian Renaissance painting, his milk-based mixture produces an extremely thin, low-viscosity paint, and needs to be applied rapidly and with precision. Bray produces his vibrant details with short, almost pencil-like hash marks made with a very fine brush.
As a naturalist and painter alike, Bray is interested in what ordinarily goes unobserved. “I paint what is right around me,” he says. “Occasionally it’s a big subject, but more often it’s a bird’s nest or a farm pond.” His work is infused with a poetic spirituality, creating transformation rather than mere description.
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Sentinel, 2020, casein on panel, 22 x 18 in.