A couple of years ago when visiting my favourite bookshop in Newcastle 'The Bookhog ' the manager Suzanne (who happens to be one of those quietly extraordinary people who knows her customers well and acts as mentor and book whisperer...well...I needed a name for what she does...so I had to make that one up on the spot) came up to me and put a book in my hands and said buy this one Sophie! Rarely a false step on her part in recommending many a book I took time to pour through REX RAY ART and DESIGN ...and yes... it came home with me!
I was very drawn to his process of working and his story was compelling, visually and otherwise. An article posted at Artworks magazine in 2008 covers the story quite succinctly. A Chronicle Books publication the book on REX RAY was indeed appealing. It felt Iike I was entering a world of colour and form when I opened the pages.
Douglas Coupland says in the foreward this art manages to be "unslick - but...superslick at the same time." Its not that no one else has worked with these materials or shapes ...they are certainly not unique to him. BUT there is a singularity in his particular immersion in colour and form that works like its very much his own language...born of something authentic within the artist that has found it way out into the world, without contrivance, or being added on or copied.
In the last 2 images shown above the walls are filled with collaged works on paper. Anyone who has attempted similar exercises with cut and paste know poetry does not arrive simply out of placing and gluing some bits of colour on paper. The rhythm here is evident though...in shapes, in tones and hues, in variations on several key themes. He listens to music intensely in his studio whilst at work and the music seems to very much be alive in the work. I'm tempted to think of them as colour poems.
Some have been quick to pass him off as 'too' graphic, 'too' design oriented. However, having worked compusively with a particular elliptical form in my work over some years, long before seeing this work, I find it only too easy to recognise how deeply a form can live in you and need to be articulated over and over.
The artist at work (above) earlier this year on a 9' x 25' canvas bound for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver. Visit the website here. NB Michael Paglia wrote an essay for the Chronicle book on the artist coining the phrase 'Flamboyant Formalism'.