Opening January 26, 2019 in the west gallery space, McClain Gallery presents a group of late paintings by Cleve Gray. These paintings, which represent a cross-section of several series from the last three decades of the artist's life, contain rich fields of saturated color punctuated by calligraphic gestures and sweeping brushstrokes. Known for his confident and personal vision of color-based abstraction, Gray’s subtly nuanced paintings vacillate between explosive energy and contained reflection.
Cleve Gray (b. 1918 New York City, NY, d. 2004 Hartford, CT) graduated with a degree in art and archeology from Princeton University in 1940. While serving in World War II and afterwards, Gray traveled extensively with significant exposure to European art and artists. His earliest inspiration ranged from his Princeton thesis on Chinese Yuan Dynasty landscape painting to his mid-1940s studies with French artists André Lhote and Jacques Villon. In the 1960s Gray forged a close friendship with Barnett Newman and during this formative period he broadened his artistic vocabulary to include more abstract compositions of distilled, yet expressive, color and gesture.
His work has been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago; Brooklyn Museum; Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts. The artist is also represented in a number of important public collections including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, The Brooklyn Museum, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Smithsonian, The Jewish Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Museum of Modern Art, The Newark Museum, The Phillips Collection, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.