30 May 2012
By Michael Holland
Rotherhithe artist Ed Gray opened his latest exhibition of works at Milagros in Bethnal Green. On show were the paintings he created when in Mexico and show the magic and modernity of that country in all its glory.
You can feel the humidity dripping off St Nazarius’ Day as the locals swelter in the heat; swerve through the busyness of Jamaica Market; feel overcome with sadness at the solemnity of Requiem – Day of the Dead; feel the rhythm of the drums of Danz Del Sol while feeling the pain of the self-flagellators; then wake up and smell the chocolate of Churreria El Moro as the locals dip their churros into the thick sauce before them.
Milagros (Spanish for miracles) is a shop that imports and sells all things Mexican; it is a kaleidoscope of colour and surprise, with tiles and scary dolls, baskets and knick-knacks. So much so, that Gray’s paintings seemed lost in the carnival of colour, and the uninitiated may miss some of the paintings, seeing only those on easels in the courtyard space at the rear. But for those that do find them they would see that they fit perfectly amongst the Mexican mix.
As a counterpoint - but relevant - an old painting of Columbia Road that Gray did about 8 years ago, took pride of place in the front window, attracting locals to see if they could spot themselves or friends in the hotchpotch of people depicted amongst the flowers of the famous market.
Over the years Ed Gray has built up an oeuvre that suits all occasions and environments. As well as many galleries he has exhibited in City Hall, church crypts, shops and will soon be showing at the top of The Gherkin. He has documented most areas of London and will continue to do so, opening us up to characters and events that we can look at through different eyes.
Gray, who agonises over ongoing work in the studio, was at ease talking about completed paintings; happy to describe emotions brought on by each subject, influences and the secret messages that he inserts in all his work. He will be giving a talk about his Mexican work at Milagros at 12pm on 16th June.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a place for the talk.
Milagros: 61 Columbia Rd London E2 7RG until June 17th
Open Sat 12-5pm Sun 9-3pm or by appointment Mon-Fri 10-6pm
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