For Owen Gray’s 12th solo show Blue Mountain Gallery A World of Calm and Chaos, Gray continues to shows us what critic Jed Perl calls ”intimations of darker emotional register”. It is clear what traditions Owen is coming from: Tiepolo, Bosch, Goya, Bruegel, the impetus for his work is shrouded in symbols and metaphors.
In particular, Hieronymus Bosch has provided a constant fodder for Gray. Bosch’s depictions of fire, recently caught Gray’s attention. The smaller the vantage point, the more the fallen shapes swirl around the fire creating mysterious figures in their silhouettes. Also an indication of scale, Gray depicts microcosmic worlds that are removed and blown up into a world below or above us. Snakes, turtles, butterflies - struggle to survive as they are removed from from their natural habitat and flung into a state peril. The unknown state that Gray’s characters exist in can serve as a metaphor for the real world struggle of climate change has cited as a inspiration such as the devastation the Amazon wildfires in recent years. It’s a fragile place that Gray depicts, giving us a bridge between the world and the primordial world soup that dreams are made of.