Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Pick: Eleanor Ray

Charlotte's Studio with Sheets, 2013, Oil on Panel, 4 x 4 15/16

House on Prospect Street, 2012, Oil on Panel, 3 7/8 x 4
March Windows, 2013, Oil on Panel, 4 x 5

Snowed In, 2012, Oil on Panel, 2 1/8 x 2 3/8

Tennis Court Parking Lot, 2011, Oil on Panel, 5 x 7

Icy Window, 2012, Oil on Panel, 5 x 3 15/16

This Sunday I present to you the work of Eleanor Ray.  These works pack a serious amount of good painting and psychological subject matter into a tiny surface.  They are delicate and quiet but deeply moving in their solitude.  Ray's work is a part of a group show which opened at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects this past Wednesday appropriately titled doorroomwindow.  As busy as Eleanor must have been preparing for the show, she was kind enough to answer a few questions I sent her way.  Read on for her very thoughtful responses: 

You seem to really enjoy this idea of a frame in a frame.  Can you speak to this sense of peering into another space, or the importance of doors and windows in your work?

Windows and doorways organize so much of what we see, especially in cities. I enjoy watching a familiar view change over time in relation to the constant of the window. Often the things outside seem to relate to the window's shape, or the grid of its panes, in the way that the interior of a painting relates to its own edges. In paintings, windows and obscured views have a sense of frozen expectation -- of something forever about to happen, or about to be revealed.
The frame of a window or doorway takes on a clear relationship to the painting's flat surface. And it can have a figurative presence that remains anonymous but not totally impartial.

What draws you to your subject matter?  It seems like beyond and maybe even before the psychological aspect you search out certain abstract qualities in your compositions?

Painting a familiar place becomes easier for me when it appears unfamiliar, usually because I am seeing something more basic -- its abstract qualities -- rather than my particular associations with the place. I find that I can see places more clearly when I'm a bit removed from them -- if I'm returning after a long absence, for example, or if I'm simply seeing the place in a new kind of weather, out of the corner of my eye, or through a window. I often become more interested in painting the places I've lived after moving away from them. 

What has been your experience so far working and living in Brooklyn as a painter? 

I love it. This is a great place to be. 

Edit: This post was picked up by Painter's Table, many thanks to whomever submitted it: http://painters-table.com/link/aubrey-levinthal/eleanor-ray-interview

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