ArToronto – Peter G. Ray
Peter G. first solo show in Toronto in De Luca Gallery, titled Confidential, is exploring the unlimited potential of the universe and the place of human beings in the cosmological order. He presents intricate paintings that capture the attention through hyper-detailed and carefully orchestrated abstractions, but yet leave the visitor with a sense of uncertainty.
Working exclusively with paint on canvas, Ray aims at carrying on the tradition of the medium and at creating hyper-illusionistic images without the assistance of electronic and digital tools. “I want to continue the tradition of painting, real painting, with paint, brush and other tools… but at the same time, I want to achieve this kind of images which are like photography or computer work.” His works present sceneries that explore traditional and classical subject matters but that are carefully constructed in the language of modern and contemporary art.
Some of his canvases are inhabited by the same dynamism and energy present in the work of artists such as Jackson Pollock and Max Ernst (although Ray denies any other artistic influence than that of the Old Masters). His images, abstract yet highly detailed and described by himself as “hyper-illusionistic” invite for contemplation and thorough observation, and unfold themselves on new levels at each inspection.
Finding his inspiration in everyday life as well as in images of the cosmos, Ray is interested in the likeness between microscopic representations of living beings and macroscopic images of the universe: “It’s just so similar when you see a picture from a microscope and next to it a picture from the cosmos. It’s the same thing. It means we are part of the universe.” Pushing this idea further, he sees every human being as a universe itself with its own mode of representation and visual language, and thus develops his own artistic techniques to create images that reflect his personal vision of specific themes.
Leaving the visitors with the task to elaborate their own interpretation of his works, Ray presents a set of appealing and fascinating canvases that show his technical prowess, but that yet asks for a more systematic conceptualization of his work. As interesting as the theme of cosmic-human interconnectedness may be, it is nonetheless a much explored question that would here necessitate a more in-depth account of the artist’s personal approach to the subject. A more comprehensive rationalization would only give more authority to these already visually powerful works.
*Exhibition information: June 14 – July 5, 2014, De Luca Fine Art / Gallery, 217 Avenue Road, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Sat: 11 – 6 p.m.