Pace London is pleased to present new work from sculptor Kevin Francis Gray, whose 2012 body of work exhibited classical elements of antiquity paired with contemporary slickness and design. His desire to capture the true nature and character of his subjects, many of whom are emotionally or mentally troubled, aligns itself with the intent of Hellenistic sculpture and invites consideration of the work’s underlying social and cultural themes. For this 2013 - 2014 exhibition, several of these past themes have matured into more developed and conceptual forms.
The porcelain installation piece 12 Chambers from 2012 has inspired a life-sized continuation of the work- a grid of figures cast in bronze whose subjects, like the first 12 Chambers, were people from around Gray’s London studio, many of them homeless, mentally ill, or on drugs. The finished piece is intimidating and exhibits an existential heaviness reminiscent of Giacometti. The bronze figures, raw and weighted, stand raised on cut pedestals whose irregular edges seem to guarantee an eternal difficulty in coming together. The edges gleam with Gray’s distinctive use of selective mirrored surfaces. Some figures comfort partners, most comfort themselves. They all look away from one another with downcast eyes. Viewers are invited to walk amidst these figures, engage with them, move around and between the “figurative presence of the fractured landscapes [they] occupy.”
Last year Gray also spoke of leaning towards a “more brutal” method of sculpting - and five double life-sized bronze heads are testament to the truth of that statement. They are rough and gestural, the textures raw and intuitive. In the show’s press release, Gray states that this exhibition “will mark a distinctive change of visual and sculptural language.” These works and 12 Chambers especially do so in a powerful way.
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