These marble and bronze sculptures of Kevin Francis Gray‘s are beautifully mysterious. They are classical in technique, but completely contemporary in subject matter. Gray chooses figures and characters – “the freaks and oft-romanticized street tribes of the East End” he see on the streets around his studio in London and then turns them into striking statues. Covering them in beaded veils or shrouding their faces with draped cloth, he manages to surround them in mystery.
His piece called ‘Ghost Girl’ superficially looks like a classical Greek or Roman sculpture, but is actually an earnest, tender view of a modern city girl, with a urban-ghetto-gothic twist. Poking out from underneath her veil is a skull tilted down toward her feet. She has her arms casually wrapped behind her back, but bear the markings of self harm. Gray renders many of his subjects from live sittings and recalls sketching the different faces:
One of the subjects has intense agoraphobia. Another was the first subject whom I really, truly didn’t like. He was so dark, a complicated psychopath. But I was determined to capture that. Some of the subjects could only sit still for an hour, because they had to go get high or whatever. (Source)
All of Gray’s pieces have a dark history to them, but he sculpts them so impressively they transform into something majestic, almost mythical.
What I’m trying to do is create a juxtaposition. The surface is glossy and consumable, but look deeper beneath that and you’ll see a darker underworld. (Source)