The December show entitled Diamonds and Rust of the Cologne-based urban-art creative will round the year at 30works Galerie with reflective poetics of the images and figurative motifs contrasting diametrically opposed claims and slogans. The artwork of Van Ray is composed around motifs of Supermodels and celebrities, 1950s pin-ups and comic heroes melted with language, to establish completely different context, a network of new meanings. Van Ray’s mission is to tell the new stories on the well known subjects.
Diverse Visual Criticism in Van Ray Art
Since early youth, Van Ray was fascinated by the Parisian “Pochoir Movement” during the 80s, inspiring the artist to use spraycan for his own art. His tags and stencils were filled with artful accuracy, detailed richness and subtle criticism of society and the so-called “Zeitgeist” – but have always remained humorous and charming. Precisely, these aspects made his work unique and triggered his success and development into the one of the most important representatives of German Street Art. Van Ray’s unique storytelling is defined not only by language and figurative components, but the by material functions as well. Thus, the main protagonist is captured in an ingenious play of counter-acting elements merged into an aesthetic unity.
Coarse rust surfaces are composed by a special technique where artificially corroded steel is thickened with liquid metal, and then layered with mirrored acrylic glass. That way, Van Ray questions the hierarchy of carrier surface and image content. He effectively creates a play between hyper-reflective plexiglas background and the shown imagery, so the backdrop could also be seen as the part of the motif world. The grid both marks the picture and represents a dominant structure, implying the three-dimensionality, but also acting as a decisive part of the content. And while the observer is still wondering how rust and plexiglas are able to cope with spray lacquer, Van Ray becomes the creator who contemplates but is also an excellent craftsman and chemical expert. Moreover, he is a skilled blacksmith in processing and handling the steel.
Supermodels with Message
Van Ray presents classical square formats with randomly cut out plexiglas elements, which function as independent work within the work, in order to question and reinterpret the hierarchy of background, content and form. All this culminates in an image cosmos, where Kate Moss, wrapped in plexiglas, flanked by rust, drippings and typo fragments, challenges us with the slogan “Be your personal revolution”. At the plexi area, there is image of the viewer reflecting and so it becomes the part of the artwork. A defensive slacker is confronted with the slogan “Exit boring reality”, substituting our hidden longings and secret desires. Van Ray never creates his claims and slogans to the level of claim or the categorical imperative, but he encourages the public to question artistic dogma, to be more daring, free-thinking, to act with courage. Moreover, that is the way the artist challenges the viewer to be responsible for the outcome of the story he just has started.
Diamonds and Rust at 30works
From its foundation in 2009, 30works Gallery is a pioneer in the presentation of Street Art in Western Germany, but also has continuity in exhibiting Urban Art and contemporary Pop Art, thus holding a mirror to our society. Van Ray’s new show Diamonds and Rust runs from 2nd until 30th December 2016 at 30works Gallery, Antwerpener Street, 50672 Cologne, Germany. Art and cultural journalist Yorca Schmdit-Junker will host the evening of the vernissage on Friday 2nd December at 7 pm.