Kevin Francis Gray, Pace London, 6 Burlington Gardens, until 18th January 2014.
Of his new exhibition Gray says “This exhibition will mark a distinctive change of visual and sculptural language within my work. I feel that both the work and my studio practice have matured and this exhibition reflects my creative and conceptual ambition, even with the sculptural difficulties it throws up for me as an artist.”
Indeed there is certainly contrast in the larger than life-size five bronze heads, which on one level reflect traditional sculptural portraiture, but the heads are hollowed out and empty and so one gets the disparity between the polished interior and the more textural exterior of the head.
The large figural work Twelve Chambers, 2013 is of twelve life-size bronze nude figures that are grouped with space for the visitor to walk between them. The figures depict people from the area around the artist’s London studio and their expressions reflect elements of loneliness and unease, wellbeing and confidence, which arguably is a reflection of our everyday life.
Particularly striking is another life-size statue but this time in white statuario Carrara marble, entitled Ballerina and Boy, 2013. The veiled figures of the ballerina and the limp figure of the boy she is carrying are almost neo-classical. The veil, which reflects burial practices of covering the body in a shroud, also symbolises a place to hide and yet the tension of the dancer’s body as she lifts the boy suggests an element of despair in her wish to physically keep him aloft. Almost a sense of loss as if the boy was lifeless.
ALL IMAGES ARE © Kevin Francis Gray, courtesy Pace Gallery