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Ray Donley

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'Ray Donley's paintings are part of the New Old Masters, a slowly but steadily emerging trend in contemporary art, involving not so much a "return to order" as it was once called, but the realization that avant-garde art has become an institutional cliché and what once looked liked the clichés of Old Masters are still full of potential.

Donley is clearly a master of the medium of oil paint, as his subtle layering and textural richness suggest. His work is highly evocative, emotionally persuasive and all the more so because of Donley’s exquisite chiaroscuro, his imagination needs no prompting. The Old Masters intuitively understood that there is always something strange in beauty.' -
Donald Kuspit

Donley's style – figurative, dramatic, full of high-contrast lighting – evokes that of the Old Masters, particularly the Dutch and Spanish portraitists of the 17th century, quite deliberately. That was the work that interested him as a young man – painters of the 14th and 15th centuries were, he says, "too Apollonian to me, too statuelike. By the 17th century, the painters looked like they were having fun. They were slapping the paint around." And that's what he sought to emulate when he became a studio art major at the University of Texas. But he couldn't find an instructor willing to help him develop that style, so he switched to art history and began to school himself. Donley calls himself "something of an autodidact," learning how to paint like an Old Master by immersing himself in the work of Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Velázquez, and Frans Hals and absorbing everything he could about their artistry. "My change to art history opened up so many doors aesthetically that I was able to see what I really wanted to do and refine what I wanted to do," Donley says. "I wanted to know the history of painting, the sociology, the phenomenology, the craft of painting, the fact of painting – I wanted to learn and master all of that."

Selected Exhibitions:

2013         

  • Morren Gallery, Utrecht, The Netherlands  

      
2011         

  • Nieto Fine Art, San Francisco, California


2010         

  • Laura Rathe Fine Art, Houston, Texas
  • Sarah Bain Gallery, Anaheim, California
  • The Russell Collection, Austin, Texas
  • Principle Gallery, Alexandria, Virginia (2-person exhibition)


2009         

  • Blackheath Gallery, London, U.K.
  • Gallery Bienvenu, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, Illinois
  • Medici Gallery, London, U.K.
  • Sarah Bain Gallery, Anaheim, California
  • The Russell Collection, Austin, Texas


2008         

  • Galerie Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Gallery Bienvenu, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Medici Gallery, London, U.K.
  • Meyer Gallery, Park City, Utah
  • Definition Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Principle Gallery, Alexandria, Virginia
  • Sarah Bain Gallery, Anaheim, California

2007

  • Marshall Gallery, Arizona

2006

  • Jack Meier Gallery, Houston

2006

  • Sara Bain Gallery, Los Angeles
  • Art Palmbeach, Florida
  • Jack Meier Gallery, Houston

2005

  • Trinity Gallery, Atlanta

2004

  • Jack Meier Gallery, Houston Medici Gallery, Art London Sarah Bain Gallery, Los Angeles

2003

  • San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts,
  • Principle Gallery,
  • Virginia Galleria II Canovaccio, Rome
  • Meyer Gallery,Utah
  • Sarah Bain Gallery, Los Angeles

2002

  • Wright Gallery, New York

2001

  • Wright Gallery, New York
  • Jack Meier Gallery, Houston

 

Ray Donley

 



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