June 17 th – July 15 th
Opening Celebration June 17 th 2 – 6
Hours: Thurs – Sat, 2 – 6 pm or by appointment

Emma Gray, Light Under a Bushel, 2023, oil on canvas, 30 x 48 inches

Serious Topics QUESTIONS for Emma:

ST: Do you get naked outside, feel the air on your body in the wilderness alone or in some kind of group ritual? Or is this just the mind’s eye?

E : Lol! No but I would love to. Everyone is naked in my paintings as I had so much time in front of the nude model for years and years, now all people tend to be nude as a default mode. I like my humans or elementals to be primitive, free and vulnerable. Sometimes idealized or raw.

ST: Are you able to draw or make notes on mushrooms.. Do you paint when you’re high? Do you use a smudge stick? Do you feel the wind of theuniverse blowing through you, filling you up, setting you on fire?

E: I do not paint when I am high from any substance outside of my own capacities. I do have some sensitivity from my work in the meditation studio and it turns out when you hide, you develop a strong sixth sense. Generally though I see the painted nature guardians like energetic ‘stand-ins’ for how humans could manifest in relationship to the natural world. Occasionally they are contorted with psychic energy, that deliberately evoke physical emotional responses in the viewer for waking up purposes. Waking up is a minute by minute process.

ST: I love the hiding painting…. The figure is positively quivering, kind of like the eyes in dark spaces under stairs in early cartoons. Like an animal hiding in fear, licking it’s wounds and regenerating and possibly transforming. I recognize the way that bush looks, like it’s been blown in that direction for it’s entire life, like trees and bushes on the beach.

Emma: You don’t see everything in the paintings right away, there are secrets which reveal themselves. The figures are sometimes gripped with fear and hiding or conversely in ecstasy, so pure and indivisible in their relationship to nature – the sun explosively turns them on. The unseen elementals relate very much to my unseen paintings/self and my own ability to fuse with and sometimes disappear into my surroundings, as a way of surviving. Working, helping, doing, mothering…I learned this from my mum who is an avid and passionate gardener and told me to just get on the job, do rather than say, keep your head down. And sometimes busy work is hiding and being safe.

ST What exactly are the elementals?

Emma: Elementals are mythic beings (fairies, sprites etc), that have appeared in occult and alchemical works from around the time of the European  Renaissance. They correspond to the four elements:  earth, water, fire, air and water. I have has always painted in and around nature and in direct elationship to the Four elements and the secret spirits that guard, embody and symbolize the energy of each aspect. In earlier series I worked worked with fire (volcano and fire paintings) and water (the iceberg paintings). 

Trees, forests, mycelium and nature are a  huge source of inspiration, much of this is rooted from experiencing the welsh landscape from our old family cottage “Bellevue” on the side of a hillside wood/forest. This connection was recently re- awakened by a two week stay during the pandemic  in the New Forest where I spent hours every day walking in the forest’s many enclosures. It felt like a huge revelation, hearing silent symphonies, witnessing being observed and seen by trees as much as I saw them, and my sense of self really melted into the woods.

ST: Introject, Jungian? Marjorie Cameron?

EG: Carl Jung – is a big influence – his basic structures: the shadow, archetypes, projections gave me a useful operating system from which to understand the world and what is seen/unseen and how we shovel our shit!! Or don’t!

*The New Forest is one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in Southern England. It was proclaimed a royal forest by William the Conqueror, featuring in the Doomsday Book.

Emma Gray has worked in contemporary art in many iterations. Her gallery Five Car Garage, established in 2013, has been extensively covered in the press. She has trained with four healers since the age of 21 running the Energetic residency, a meditation studio above the gallery. A former editor of ArtReview, artnet writer and advisors. She studied at University College London before eventually getting back to art at Heatherley Art School, London, were she trained in portraiture – she has been a secret painter for the past decade.

Recent shows:

JUNG LOVERS a group show centered around the psychology of CJ Jung at
Soloway gallery in Brooklyn, curated by Jennifer Sullivan and Jack Arthur Wood.
July – August 2022

CELEBRITY a group show curated by Cait Finley at TSA LA March 19th 2022
Swing Left Benefit Auction 2020

The Panacea Project organized by Bettina Hubby at werkartz

Dreamhouse Vs Punk house at serious Topics September 2019

Note to self Organized by Bettina Hubby February 4th – February 25th

Beach Bodies at MSJC Art Gallery February 2016 Curated by John Knuth with Justin Hansch and Caleb Lyons. Curated by John Knuth, Emma Gray, Justin Hansch, Caleb Lyons, February 29 – March 31st

Salon No.13 Marine Projects, Santa Monica, CA

Works 373 – 417Sep 26 – Nov 21, 2015 A group exhibition presenting the work of Zoe Crosher, Emma Gray, Emilie Halpern,Ariel Herwitz, Lauren Spencer King, Galia Linn, Fay Ray and Samantha Thomas

The Fourth Wall curated by Kristin Calabrese at Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles September 2016 Group show