U.S.A. - Columbia-South Carolina - Cleve Gray: Man and Nature

Man and Nature #1 - 1980

Cleve Gray: Man and Nature, a 30-year retrospective of noted American painter Cleve Gray, will be on view at the Columbia Museum of Art from June 26 through September 27, 2009. The exhibition illustrates the full progression of Gray’s practice as he developed his signature gestural style between 1970 and 2004, the year he died. Man and Nature is the first comprehensive touring exhibition of Gray’s work and is the only museum exhibition to date to focus on his mature abstraction. The 47 paintings in the show follow the development of the artist’s color-based abstractions, forged out of introspection, his responses to his extensive travels, and his deep understanding of European and American modernism and Asian sources.

Cleve Gray (1918-2004) was an independent-minded artist whose work paralleled and reflected Abstract Expressionism and Color Field painting but did not entirely embrace them. He had a lifelong interest in Asian art, and his interest began avidly when he was at Princeton University where he graduated summa cum laude. Gray developed considerable expertise in Chinese and Japanese art, and he wrote his Princeton thesis on Chinese landscape painting. During the last 30 years of his life, travel to the Middle East and trips to Southeast Asia continued to influence his series of paintings. The reconciliation of opposites also intrigued him, and during the 1980s and ‘90s, he went through phases of simplification and reduction, saying, “I’ve always been attracted to the Chinese sense of yin yang – opposites converging to make a harmony. Male, female, black, white: all coming together.”

Columbia Museum of Art - 26.06.2009-27.09.2009