Cleve Gray

Description: CLEVE GRAY
Zen Gardens #36.

Acrylic on canvas, 1982. 1520×1770 mm; 59 3/4×69 3/4 inches. Signed, titled, dated and annotated in acrylic, verso.

Provenance: Ex-collection Fairweather Hardin Gallery, Chicago; New Britain Museum of American Art, Connecticut, with the labels on the frame back; private collection, New York.

Gray (1918-2004) was an American Abstract Expressionist painter, who was also associated with Lyrical Abstraction and Color Field painting. His work fuses these styles with Far Eastern artistic traditions, influenced by his involvement with Eastern philosophy. In 1982, Gray visited Japan, where he spent 10 days in Kyoto visiting several Zen gardens each day.

This experience precipitated the idea for the Zen Garden series, which Gray conceived soon after traveling to Japan. Each painting depicts 4 rocks in color, with an outline that emphasizes both the rhythm of the rock, and the relationships between them. As the series progressed, vibrant colors and calligraphic lines, as seen in the current lot, became important elements with which Gray could emulate the spatial sensations and relations that are central to the experience of the Zen garden.