Kevin Bray is a multidisciplinary artist whose work is the present-day extension of an ever-evolving discourse on technology as a tool and our relationship to it.
Contribution by Andrea Susarrey.
Kevin Bray @bray_kevin is a multidisciplinary artist whose work is the present-day extension of an ever-evolving discourse on technology as a tool and our relationship to it. Experimental graphic designer, now artist and filmmaker, has exhibited in venues like Palais de Tokyo, Deborah Bowmann Gallery, Future Gallery, Polansky Gallery, etc as well as worked on several musical projects and music videos with artists like of Sampha.
Having first been exposed to graphic design in a more conceptual way during his studies in France, Bray says that is when he first was introduced to the idea of graphic design as an extension of language, a tool. One that falls in line with that of words, the wheel, paper, etc. This approach has shaped the way he creates and given him a more critical perspective on the “tools” he uses to do so.
It wasn’t until his residency at RijksAkademie in Amsterdam, that he began to look at his work more through the lens of an artist than that just of an experimental graphic designer.
This more introspective shift in his approach has unlocked freedom and a deeper explosion of the themes within his work. Bray’s constant philosophical approach causes a relentless criticality of how he uses technology and his curiosity to expose the extremes of it creates a continuous narrative within his work.
Influenced by the origins of music, the origins of samplers, and techno music. He’s interested in how these things find their use through their evolution and movement in history – for example, how synthesizers from Japan could have influenced the techno movement in Detroit. He uses this research to translate music into graphic design as a way to develop his own tools and perspective on what an image could be.
His work gives airs of artifacts that have traveled too far, too fast in time. Morphed and blended with traces of an ethereal, dissolving future, accumulating clunks of a dense historical past along the way. These images have folded in on themselves, their definitions, and their symbolism, they have de-toured the route of linear time thus their context has expanded to one only possible within the worlds Bray has created.
He’s currently working on a video series called Morpher. Bray says it’s the span of his work since he considered himself an official artist. “It’s my music video”, a series of music videos that evolve depending on the place where it’s exhibited, so you won’t see the same version from one exhibition to the next since it adapts to the architecture or the other pieces exhibited next to it. The paintings that are often exhibited next to the video are the storyboards of his videos. They are symbolically announcing what is going to happen in the video before or after it happens. Functioning something like a portrait on a wall of a great-grandson who hasn’t been born yet.
There are four out at the moment and he’s working on the 5th. He says he would be happy to continue the video series for the rest of his life if possible. One of his many subjects of interest also happens to be narratology (the study of narratives), in which we see how he orchestrates the relationships between the different parts of his works within the context of a non-linear “world”. Bray makes all of the music in Morpher himself, and he collages and camouflages images found within the real world digitally, like google Maps images, and ones he captures or creates himself.
This combination of the “real world” to create an alternate reality is his specialty. Bray used Morpher as a space in which he can connect all of the different ideas he’s thinking about and exploring within his practice into a type of narrative. It’s a place where he’s able to show effects and how they work, he basically shows a breakdown of how the images and effects he created are functioning – an homage to Brecht, where he talks about how “a good audience should always be aware of what is fiction”. Bray undoes the illusions he creates for his audiences to remind them of what is fiction and their authority among what is real and illusion.
Bray is an artist appropriately responding and engaged with the times. His ability to reflect a reality that is continuously evolving yet mirroring other spaces and times is paradoxically what makes his work truly reflective of our times.
Contribution by Andrea Susarrey.