San Francisco-based painter, Serge Gay Jr was born in Haiti, grew up in Miami, and studied in Detroit, before integrating himself as a permanent fixture in the Bay Area art scene. His connection to each one of these disparate locations have helped to shape his development, both as an individual and as an artist; each one of his works reflecting components of his various unique experiences, viewpoints, and elements of his personality. His latest solo show, GOLD, which opens this Saturday April 5th at the SPOKE ART gallery, finds the artist paying homage to one of the greatest motivators and influences throughout his life: music.
Just prior to our interview with him back in 2011, Serge and his close long-time friend/collaborator, video director, Matt Stawski, received a Grammy nomination for their work on Cee-Lo Green‘s video for the track “Fuck You.” Even the stylized logo that appears on Gay‘s website features an image of the painter’s head equipped with a pair of headphones. Music is part of his life and part of his process. And, although many of the figures that he’s paying tribute to and honoring for their inspiration in this new exhibit may be universally renowned artists on the more “obvious” and less obscure side–The Beatles, Bob Marley, Freddie Mercury, Bowie, etc.–his approach to the work remains anything but cookie cutter. Even more commonplace subject matter and influences are presented by Serge in a very personal way, reminding us of why they’ve held such power and affected so many, so deeply, for so long.
No matter how many group shows he’s been featured in–and he’s been involved in a quite a few–Serge Gay Jr‘s work is always identifiable, and it always stands out. Beyond his ability to mix influences is his work–whether subtly or in more direct fashions–Gay has also demonstrated a tremendous ability to blend the abstract and surreal with the figurative and direct. Even the most psychedelic landscapes tend to find themselves rooted by a sense of life, mood, and organic growth. The framing and grouping of particular elements in his compositions, often translate into a very collage-like aesthetic. In fact, the manner in which he blocked out and compartmentalized sections of many of his works for his December 2011 solo show at the gallery even provided them with a diorama-like quality that emphasized specific areas, providing a varied contrast throughout the pieces. This time, for GOLD, he’s utilized his trademark dream-like brush stroke fluidity and color palette, synesthethetically buoying the figures among visual interpretations of their own auditory creations and soundscapes. As usual, these new pieces play with depth, toying with the dimensionality of the different components–one corner piling up, while a deep pocket tunnels into the backdrop, and an apparition threatens to evaporate right out of the frame. And even if none of that shit is important to you in the slightest, there’s still some pretty sweet fucking paintings of A Tribe Called Quest, Ray Charles, and Aaliyah in there; not to mention Michael Jackson with a robot and a monkey..
Check out preview images for the exhibit below the following event details…
GOLD – A Solo Show By Serge Gay Jr
Saturday, April 5th
Spoke Art Gallery
816 Sutter St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
Opening is ALL AGES w/NO COVER
Artist will be in attendance
Show on view until Saturday, April 26, 2014
Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1374706229471172/
[click images to enlarge]