Monotypes by Michael Gray
Opening Reception September 1, 2017 at 7pm
Curatorial Gestures by Curator, Belaxis Buil
Wild. Life. presents Michael Gray’s collection of monotype prints of Florida flora that he calls Epiphyte. Inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights (1495–1505), the images may be understood to illustrate a battle ground, a disarray of chaotic madness, where leaves take over the horizon and reduce signs of any other life form. The intimate portrayal of war between the foliage turns becomes, for some viewers at least, a protective shield. The environmental context is lost as the viewer is faced with a pattern of incessant wrangle—perhaps reflective of our own internal wars, and how humans, who are also part of this nature, turn on each other.
From another perspective, the viewer might see in Gray’s prints a nature that fabricates its own interwoven life. Colonies of plants and flowers adapt and learn to coexist through a process. Throughout the action and with time of its growth, plants and flowers die and reawaken with lustrously brighter petals, robustly fuller leaves, taller stems and pretentious beauty. This may be used to disguise their power, which is sometimes deadly. Perhaps the flamboyant colors and shades of greens are meant to seduce the other plants into a suffocating, sensual trap, forcing them to interlock in communal growth that illustrates a divine purpose of coexistence, an idea which seems difficult for humankind to understand at the moment.
Gray’s monotypes help us understand that battles for dominance are innately imprinted in the code of life. At the same time, they reveal that there are also harmonies within the intersections of plants and their relationships. These symbiotic relationships form as one host provides support to the other and a sophisticated system commences resulting in the exotic and protective environments depicted in these works.