Todd Gray / MATRIX 186
March 4 – July 18, 2021
Todd Gray’s photographic assemblages explore the history and enduring impact of European colonialism, slavery, and the African diaspora. A personal subject for the artist, his family has been unable to trace its lineage beyond three generations due to the legacy of slavery. To create new work, Gray mines his extensive archive of photographs created over decades of travel, then selects and juxtaposes images of African subjects and sublime landscapes, formally-designed European gardens, and dazzling Hubble Space Telescope constellations. Framed individually in different styles of thrift-store frames, new frames, and old museum frames, the artist layers and stacks the images in dynamic overlapping compositions of two to or more photographs. Breaking all the rules of formal presentation, Gray conceals and pairs imagery to take us on a complex journey about identity through Africa, Europe, and the cosmos, and through time and space.
For his MATRIX project, Gray embraces the experimental nature of MATRIX program to expand his practice with his most ambitious work to date: a fourteen-part work exceeding thirty feet in length. The scale and imagery will envelop the viewer in a historical, cultural, and spiritual experience that directly connects with the renewed contemporary discourse to face past and present transgressions. Four recent multi-part works will accompany the monumental work in Gray’s MATRIX project.
MATRIX 186 is generously supported by the Wadsworth Atheneum’s Contemporary Coalition, the Howard Fromson Exhibition Fund, the Larsen Fund for Photography, and The Cowles Charitable Trust.
Sustaining support for the Wadsworth Atheneum provided by Newman’s Own Foundation and the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign with support from the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts.
Header Image: Todd Gray, Sumptuous Memories of Plundering Kings, 2021. Fourteen archival pigment prints with UV laminate in artist’s frames. Courtesy of the Artist and David Lewis, New York.