There’s more to Wray’s work than meets the eye.
Artist Wray Banker was the latest to have the floor at the National Gallery, as part of A Day in the Life series of lectures that give visitors a more intimate appreciation for the artist’s process in producing his/her work.
Always engaging and naturally passionate about his work, the artist’s philosophical disposition could not be overlooked, as it effortlessly oozed throughout his interaction with those on hand.
“I was raised at a time when there were not very many examples for artists and if you were good at drawing you did architecture; though I always knew I could and wanted to do fine art. I wanted to communicate in that way,” he explained. Wray said he decided to do architecture and graphic design formally, an experience that eventually would add to the flavour of his work and influence his style in a unique way.
Even now when I do my stencils and things like that, I still can see that architectural discipline in the lines and contours of the pieces. “It’s interesting, but I have found that in the marriage of architecture and graphics, there is much fine art,” he surmised.
Much of Wray’s work incorporates a distinct sense of culture and self. The artist designs were indelibly Caymanian in some way, shape or form, with gems of personal thought and strategy subtly coming to life as one becomes open to the little surprises and “traps” in the works, as Wray calls them.
“Caymanians got to have their minds occupied. That is why I like to put game-like types of references in certain pieces. A lot of that is strategy and I like playing tricks in my art. It’s like sneaking up and surprising people. I mean if you look close enough, you begin to see this is related to that and that is related to this. The whole thing tells a story! Everything has a reason; whether that reason is consciously interpreted or perceived correctly depends on the person looking at the piece . Ultimately, every action reveals a self portrait,” gleamed the artist.
Guests were charmed during the lecture, as they were treated to insightful glimpses into the complex nature of how artistic minds function and how many times the artist’s work reveals him/her to themselves.
Ranging from pictures to appliances, to things that washed along the beach, the different ways in which Wray’s artwork are presented, reveal a sincere quality that shows a level of vulnerability and a willingness to be put on the spot for all, “to appreciate or not appreciate.”
In fact, for Wray, work is not complete until someone appreciates it. That is the culmination of his efforts and a real source of inspiration for any artist.
With titles bearing as uniquely original names as artistry and rendering, such as, “Caboose.ky,” “Big Bunky”, and “A Wray to a man’s heart,” Banker solidifies his vision of knowing that he was meant to do fine art with his perspective and complexity both as an individual and an artist.
He told guests that in everything he approached artistically, it was important for him to consider what was uniquely Caymanian about the piece. In doing so, Wray singled out a painting depicting the logo for a popular drink in the islands known MILO. He said that it was things like simply drinking MILO, which could qualify as cultural in his opinion. He suggested that culture was being witnessed all around us in the things we do and the way we do them, but if we did not add value to these things in some way, shape or form, it would be a risk.
“We unfortunately are not of the view that the culture here is progressing and bringing new aspects and therefore when you go to an event or place where our culture is being celebrated, it is not always depicted to truly represent where the society is now. In other words, culture is always evolving and growing.”
Will MILO maybe looked at as an essential part of Cayman’s culture 50 years from now? Only if Wray’s paradigm of cultural evolution holds true.
The artist explained that the world around us is a canvas, adding that art was simply a way for us to process things in new ways and as a result be enlightened.
According to Wray, fine art can be found in the most mundane of places by simply using one’s imagination to create something that stimulates another persons perception and challenges them to think outside their comfort zone. The artist’s light, but heavy style is enveloped in this philosophy and his distinct genius is obvious, though subtly shrouded in his unassuming manner.
Other artists to have participated in the programme include Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette and Kerri Anne Chisholm.
The ethos behind the National Gallery’s A day in the Life programme as stated by the Gallery is, “By working in the public eye, each artist is challenged to emerge from the confines of their regular practice and to explore the significance of relationships between the artists and viewer in the development of their work.”
In the ongoing series each featured artist will give guests a glimpse into their private worlds and the methodology behind the application of their talents.
For further information about artists featured in the Day in the Life series, contact the National Gallery on 945