Friday, October 3, 2008


Ancestor 9

Acrylic on paper, 6" x 6 5/8"
$125.00 + $6.00 shipping in US.
Available for purchase starting 10/03/08, 12 noon PST

Recent insightful comments left on my message board have made me think a little harder about the motivations behind this series.

Yes there is a certain strangeness about these figures, and admittedly it is a quality I'm seeking. At the core of it for me is the poignance of life itself. The old photos are reminders that we are all apparitions--a coalescing of atoms that, after a few heartbeats, will exist in this world only in memory, or in a pattern of chemicals on a scrap of photopaper.

8 comments:

Graham H. Hicks said...

Your comments on this painting are every bit as beautifully written as the picture is painted. If you ever need a break from painting, try writing. You'd do well.

G

Erika Nelson said...

Going with the apparition thought, how would it be to paint a contemporary person alongside these old photo folks? I wonder if you'd still feel the same or if it would incite new reactions...

Suzanne McDermott said...

This series is getting more and more amazing as you add to it. Watching them all as they are posted has been interesting but going back over them as a whole is wonderful because together, they are very, very strong. I guess that's what family is about. Some families (!). I love how the second figure here is faded out. Not sure if that was suggested by photo but it makes for a mysterious narrative.

Sheila Vaughan said...

Perhaps we are all only memories Don. When it's our time to go we hope to continue in that way. We are lucky to be able to leave something behind for people to latch on to. But maybe we are that way now. Perhaps it's the memory that is always stronger than the "real" person. And maybe that's what painting is about too!

Don Gray said...

Graham, you're very kind.

Don Gray said...

Actually, Erika, I have tried that. Back in 1996 I did a series of self-portraits, coupled with faces from old photos. Maybe I'll post a couple.

Don Gray said...

Hi Suzanne--thanks for your thoughts. I try to keep the referent clear that these paintings are explorations of old photos, without being just copies.
As you mention, I would like to suggest a narrative--that there are stories behind these images--without getting specific.

Don Gray said...

Really interesting ideas, Sheila--thanks.