Don Gray Statement for "Collectors Select" Show

The first time I visited Marc’s studio, he pulled out these large folders filled to overflowing with works on paper. Some were tiny drawings or working studies, others large mixed-media collages. All of the work had an originality and lyrical quality about it that made me an instant fan. He was also working on some larger oil paintings that used wild animals as subject matter. Some figures were fully realized, some lightly indicated. Forms overlapped in arbitrary ways. Images floated in
wildly different sizes and orientations.  The canvases were used as “fields,” rather than perspectival spaces. One could imagine the canvases hanging in virtually any direction.


The paintings somehow expressed such a vulnerable quality…..I think this ink drawing “Ocean Study” contains some of that character. I’ve had it on my wall for over 15 years now, and every time I view it I get such satisfaction out of those blurred, overlapping forms. The longer I look, the richer it gets. Take some time to let it seep in.


Marc’s art has always had a certain kind of wonderful “clunkiness,” about it, for lack of a better word. I mean that in the finest way. He is a trained, knowledgeable and sophisticated painter, who nonetheless can access an almost childlike joy in messing around with paint. He seems to me to be constantly trying to reinvent his own vision, to see things with perfectly fresh, untainted eyes. But beneath the humor and apparent naivete of his vision lurk deeper concerns. His work questions the human condition—our vanities and conceits; our seemingly endless capacity for cruelty and strife; our disregard for the natural world; even our chances for survival. At the same time it often pokes fun in a whimsical and delighted manner, as if to say “all is not lost.”

Don Gray