Eleanor Ray: Paintings

March 19 - April 20, 2014

Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects presents Eleanor Ray: Paintings. This is Ray’s second solo exhibition at the gallery.

Eleanor Ray (b.1987) is a recent graduate of the New York Studio School. Working from both photography and observation on masonite panels which often measure only 4 x 5 inches, Ray makes extremely small-scale works that play with the tropes of representational painting.

Ray’s brushwork is both sensitive and sensual; her work carries a poetic force and visual intensity. Her sidewalks, snowy tennis courts and sparse interiors suggest a space that is both intimate and expansive. Indeed, there is a recollective sensibility to her work – we can feel as though we are peering out a window or through a doorway onto a place that we have seen before. While many of her new works depict familiar streets of downtown Brooklyn, some move as far afield as Venice and Florence.

Ray’s work has caught the attention of critics as diverse as Jerry Saltz and Jed Perl. Saltz included Ray’s first solo show at SHFAP in his list of the 10 Best Art Shows of 2013 for New York Magazine:

“When I stumbled on the small oil paintings of this very young artist at this tiny Lower East Side gallery, I gleaned what might be the power of the conservative. Figuration, older ideas about space, surface, and paint in intimate interiors, street scenes, and winter landscapes—all evince delicate touch, acute eye, and quiet power.”

And in his article, Richard Diebenkorn and the problems of modern painting published in the New Republic, Jed Perl sights Ray as an exemplar of the difficult position young painters are in today.

“You have probably never heard of the young painter Eleanor Ray, but she is a virtuoso, no question about it. The sizes of the panels on which she paints…suggest a reverse hubris, a pride in how much she can do with so little.”

Eleanor Ray herself, wrote in a piece about the painter Elena Sisto that, “Her most recent paintings have an ease and inevitability…” With their graceful painterly assurance and intimate scale Ray’s own paintings carry an understated critique of the macho bravura of much contemporary art, with their own exquisite pictorial architecture.