Wild Animal: Casey Gray @ Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco
Hashimoto Contemporary is pleased to present Wild Animal, a solo exhibition by San Francisco- based artist Casey Gray, his third with the gallery. Utilizing his signature process of complex masking techniques and acrylic spray paint, the artist’s latest body of paintings, sculptures and works on paper are a meditation on the vibrancy of life as seen through the animal kingdom.
Drawing from his experience as a new father, and the chaotic stasis of the last two years to reconsider both subject and audience, Gray narrows his vision into a singular, charming topic; a colorful world of dynamic animals in action. Eight highly stylized portraits of solitary animals make up the majority of the show; Eagle, Bear, Horse, Tiger, Pelican, Crocodile, Trout and Duck. The figures are flat, graphic and modernist, painted with a variety of competing treatments and textures, and set amidst dreamy, gradient backgrounds.
Gray describes his inspiration for the work: “Raising a toddler has my life overrun with animal themes, from children’s books to toys, clothing, television, trips to the zoo. You name it, they’re everywhere. It was a natural evolution for me to move in this direction because animals seem to be everything I’m looking at, and simply put, I can’t separate my life from my work.”
The exhibition is a direct extension of the artist’s recent residency at The Internet Archive in San Francisco from 2020-2021. During his residency, Gray used the Archives’s vast magazine cover art collection as a source for representation, specifically focusing on the dramatic Adventure and Nature Magazine illustrations of the early 20th century. Gray re-contextualizes the animals from the covers, instead imagining them as plastic children’s toys, into two obsessively composed window box paintings central to the show. In the first, a meticulously rendered feral herd of mammals, snakes and birds intermix around a large bonsai tree with a heightened sense of alert. In the second, a school of fish, sharks and other aquatic creatures clash with a deep sea diver in a powerful fight for survival. Each layered still life arrangement offers a sense of excitement, bewilderment and sentimentality for the outdoors in its theatre and spectacle. Their interactions of the wildlife and their placement in space create a narrative tension that mirrors the emotional turmoil of this day and age.
Wild Animal will be on view February 5th - 26th with an opening reception on Saturday, February 5th from 1pm-7pm, no appointment necessary. Viewing appointments available for the duration of the exhibition here. In order to ensure the health and safety of visitors and staff, please note that proof of full vaccination and masks are required for entry. For more information, additional images or exclusive content, please email San Francisco Director, Vanessa Indies at [email protected]