Gray has been exploring aggregation, a natural process in which growth begins from a single point and progresses to some kind of limit, as a metaphor for constructing his imagery and installations for much of his career. Gray creates complex, ever-growing sequences of forms that are a blend of biological imperative and tactile pleasure. The work often references human responses to plant and animal forms where highly decorative sculptures uncover botanic micro-worlds and havens.
Gray’s work draws on his continuing investigation into materials and practices, combining drawing, woodwork, collage, paper marbling, painting, paper cutting, dying, silk-screening, basket weaving, ceramics and paper plate geometry.
The artist’s hand is strongly evident through the craft-based practices he employs, such as paper marbling, which involves the production of aqueous surface design on paper through colour floated in size, and paper plate geometry, which explores the potential of folding circles into multiples.
Gray’s preoccupations with music, ornamentation and biological illustration render his work simulta-neously psychedelic and optimistic.
As part of the experimental music duo Snawklor, with fellow artist Dylan Martorell, Gray often references music in his installations, with, say, an unused power cord or intricate systems of electronic equipment emanating sound, and his work cuts across numerous artistic boundaries.
The artist’s work also forms parallels with makeshift constructions such as homeless shelters and shanties, shrines and other temporary uses of public space that are functional yet often decorative, and which form a relationship with nature through their rudimentary configuration. Influenced by aspects of tribal and ethnic cultures such as Meso-American and Tibetan sculpture and Papua New Guinean shamanism, these constructions merge with 1960s psychedelia to create a new realm.
In 2006, Gray’s Terrarium exhibition at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne presented suspended and floor-based sound sculptures in addition to intricate screen prints depicting nature in containment through the front glass window.
His 2007 Love Purity Accuracy exhibition at Utopian Slumps explored the machinations of a Rube Goldberg machine.
The exhibition explored aggregation through a combination of technology and the handmade. Flights of Fancy at ACCA @ Mirka in 2007-08 in Melbourne, again reused elements from the artist’s previous studies, exploring a single sculptural aggregation arching the left, central and right walls and accompanied by a series of framed monochrome silkscreen prints with biological and botanical themes.
Gray’s body of work repeatedly propagates itself in an infinite sequence of forms. In each application his carnival of marbled paper and other decorative elements combine in joyous splendour.
His wild, brightly coloured arrangements, a continuum of processes reflecting boundless ideas, are evidence of a firm faith in continuity as well as the belief that nature and technology can peacefully co-exist in our current social climate.