Todd Gray, “Lucky Charms”, 2015. Acrylic on wood, 40″ x 56″ x 12″.
For his most recent show at Skidmore Gallery, artist Todd Gray has developed a historical statement about his work. “Pop Geometry“ – the show title, explores the balance of all objects and spaces, while signifying the next position of a pop movement. By incorporating well-known tropes of pop-art progenitors like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein with other familiar shapes and numbers, Gray presents a meta-lineage of pop art through space and time.
Gray has been driven by a career-long desire to discover harmony through balance in every aspect of his art. “Yes, my work is geometric and I have used perspective in my work for many, many years. It is fundamentally geometric squares and cubes, and these have been the building blocks upon which I have created my career,” says Gray. “Balance of form, balance of color, balance of design…. This has been a consistent theme in my work throughout time.”
The artist’s process is rooted in the popular cultural art of the early sixties, in artists like Warhol, Lichtenstein, and Robert Indiana.
“I have a connection with these artists not only because I have lived my whole life within pop arts’ entire existence, but also because pop art has never been more relevant,” says Gray.
“Whether it is in the prices that the greats are commanding at auction or when we think about what it is that is pop art today – Comic-con, emojis, Marvel superheroes, Google imagery – it goes on and on and on. I am sampling what the greats sampled and deconstructing it and re-arranging it into my own style. Pop art is not going away. And by sampling what the greats did, I am placing my work and myself in a very clear and concrete historical context.”
Gray’s paintings and sculpture embrace the vibrant duality of history and nowness. Whether sculpture to walk around or pieces to view on a wall, his intention is to succinctly brighten the moment. “I have thirty years of being a serious fine artist behind me at this point,” says Gray, “creating work that is beautiful to look at, has presence and energy and hopefully enhances and enlivens its surroundings. I am trying to say something relevant and important and hopefully the viewer comes away with the impression that my work is smart, well crafted, balanced and relevant.”
As a longtime working artist that has shown at an extensive list of galleries that include Suzanne Brown Gallery, Wilshire Pacific Gallery, and Acme Fine Art, Gray has had the time to reinvent his style, a shift recognized by Lia Skidmore, owner of Skidmore Gallery. Gray says “I took a number of years off from showing in galleries and Lia was the first person to see the value in my work. For this, I am very grateful. It has given my career a new possibility and excitement and showing in her large and beautiful gallery is quite an honor, as well as thrilling.”
“Pop Geometry” happily reveals Gray’s attention to color and detail, giving a real sense of the beautiful accidents of nature, where symmetry is facade and harmony arrived at through dissimilarity. “I am painting with acrylic paints on wooden boxes that my cabinet company makes for me. Everything is painted by hand and I purposefully choose to leave a few imperfections so as to give it a handmade look,” says Gray. “I am always striving for light and balance. Balance in design and balance in color.”