Continuing through April 16, 2018
William Wray’s oils pair the energy of urban scenes, along with the serenity of rural landscapes. His background is in drawing cartoons, so it is not surprising that he often reduces his subject matter down to a single or a few buildings, while carefully handling the depiction of each structure. His realistic “Guard Rail” directs the eye to a gray-washed urban street and tall buildings. “Suburbia” composes a row of cookie cutter homes set against utility poles and a highway (both paintings are devoid of people). It acts as a metaphor of the loneliness and starkness of a strain of 21st century life.
Evolving toward abstraction, “The Black Tower” depicts a lone tower poised against an orange and purple sky in a statement about the power and dynamism of our cities’ skyscrapers. “Pink Barn,” a brightly colored barn pushing against a verdant green background, is both simple and elegant, elevating the formal and symbolic significance of this simple farm structure. “Pink Rocket,” “SLO” and “Lean on Me,” each with broad, gesturally painted expanses of primary colors and sharp edges, reveal a recent penchant for Diebenkorn’s “Ocean Park” series. The steady progression of this artist’s work from realism to abstraction has become clear, but he has thus far chosen to maintain his deft illustration skills.