Cleve Gray: Man and Nature

Mar 17 - May 31, 2009
Boca Raton Museum of Art

This retrospective of noted American painter Cleve Gray (1918-2004) illustrated the full evolution of his practice as he developed his signature gestural, color-based abstraction between 1970 and 2000. Gray's painting style, first influenced by the abstract-expressionist movement, gathered strength as he became interested in Chinese masters and spontaneous expression. By the 1970s, Gray's work had evolved to incorporate risk and accidental effects as well as thinly spread layers of pigment. The inspirations for these abstract works range from Greek sculpture to Hawaiian waterfalls, and oriental calligraphy. As guest curator, Karen Wilkin writes in her catalogue essay: "Throughout this evolution, man and nature struggle for dominance; Gray treads the boundaries between painting conceived as evidence of the artist's will and as evidence of his unwilled responses to the natural world, between painting as a product of ‘culture' and as an equivalent for forces beyond our control."

Curated by Karen Wilkin, art historian and critic, and organized by the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York.


Cleve Gray's "Death of the Eagle" at the Boca Raton Museum of Art

Cleve Gray (American, 1918-2004), Death of the Eagle, 1977, acrylic on canvas, 70 x 72 inches. From the St. Bernard's School Collection, New York, NY. Courtesy of the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY