Eleanor Ray

May 6 - June 5, 2021

Press Release

Nicelle Beauchene Gallery is pleased to present Brooklyn-based painter Eleanor Ray’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.

Eleanor Ray distills light, atmosphere, and the mystery of actual places in small-scale, oil-on-panel paintings of landscapes and interiors. Each painting, rendered sparely, heightens the visual aspects of a place that persist in memory. Scale is not one-to-one in the size of the paintings or the time in which they are made; hours, or days, or weeks spent in a place continue to shape the attention long afterward, leading to paintings sometimes made much later. Distant expanses and quiet interiors are rebuilt on the panels through the elements of color and light at intimate scales, each panel a portable encounter.

Architecture figures prominently across Ray’s paintings as both an element of and within the landscape, or as a framing device within the composition. The slow shape of light, crossing through windowpanes and breaking shadow, marks space observed in a singular moment. Ray catalogues these moments across multiple paintings of the same scene, seen here in June Windows (Great Basin Desert) and Studio Door, Montello— the sagebrush sea beyond the windows as equal a subject as the planes of light on the studio’s walls and floor. With their evocations of the ecstatic possibilities residing within geometric frames, Ray’s small paintings realize a romanticism disciplined by abstraction.

Eleanor Ray (b. 1987, Gainesville, FL) studied painting at Amherst College and the New York Studio School. Her work has been supported by residencies at the Montello Foundation, Yaddo, Ucross, Jentel, and the BAU Institute, among others, as well as a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in painting and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Prize. Recent solo and two-person presentations of her work include the Wilson Museum at Hollins University, Roanoke, Virginia (2021); Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, New York (2019); Howard’s, Athens, Georgia (2018); University of Tulsa, Oklahoma (2017); The Landing, Los Angeles, California (2016); and Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, New York (2015, 2014).

Ray’s work can be found in the public collections of the Pensacola Museum of Art at the University of West Florida; Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University, Roanoke, VA; and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.