Sunset River Marketplace will welcome well-known N.C. artist Eric McRay this spring.
Sunset River Marketplace owner Ginny Lassiter has announced that the art gallery will host Eric McRay: Contemporary Modernist from March 24 through May 1. A reception to meet the artist is scheduled for Friday, April 9 from 4 to 7 pm and a gallery talk by the artist is set for the following day, Saturday, April 10 at noon.
McRay’s artwork overflows with bright colors, expressive styles and energized designs. In this body of work, he has used nonobjective abstraction in the tradition of the New York School of the 1940s and 1950s. His focus is on subjective emotional expression with a particular emphasis on spontaneous creative actions. The exhibition will include more than 20 abstract works in acrylic.
“Eric’s work is so vibrant, so moving. I can’t wait to have it in the gallery,” Lassiter says. “I first met Eric years ago at an Artspace fundraiser in Raleigh. My husband and I bought his painting! I’ve been wanting to bring him to Calabash ever since.”
A native of Washington, D.C., McRay received a BFA degree at the Maryland Institute, where he earned a four-year scholarship for his artistic talent. Now living in Raleigh, the high-energy painter has been featured on television and radio as well as numerous newspapers, magazines and online media outlets.
The Raleigh News & Observer named him on of the Artists to Watch.
He has been featured in Our State Magazine and Southern Living. Collectors of his work include the SAS Institute, Duke University Medical Center, North Carolina Central University Art Museum, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and Western Wake Hospital. McRay was also a participant in the U.S. State Department’s Art In Embassies program, which displayed his work at the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Asked recently by a collector why people buy his art, McRay answered this way:
“Some collect abstract art because it does not have a specific subject matter.”
There can be a broad range of reasons why someone would buy a piece of abstract art. For example, someone may like Krispy Kreme, someone else may like Dunkin Donuts. It’s subjective and a matter of taste. With abstract art, it’s how someone may feel emotionally when they see the piece of artwork (similar to when they listen to classical music or jazz music). Neither has lyrics, but they have emotional content. Abstract art has emotional, psychological and spiritual content.
“When someone collects abstract art it can be for investment. It could be decorative reasons because they want something that looks visually engaging, but no pictures of people or things. Someone may buy abstract art because of how it affects them emotionally, as I stated before based off the colors, shapes, textures and so forth.”
“Now concerning someone buying art only because that work is produced by me. That is also a possible factor, because I’ve spent a lifetime building my brand and reputation so someone will invest in my work versus someone else. For example, someone goes into a restaurant and asks for Coca Cola. They don’t ask for RC Cola.”
“Once again abstract art isn’t necessarily about the specific thing you see, but how does that image make you feel. Instrumental music whether techno, jazz, classical, or Muzak; all have an impact on others yet have no lyrics. That is Abstract Art!”
Sunset River Marketplace caters to both tourists and a growing local community of full time residents seeking fine art for their homes and businesses. Featuring work by approximately 150 North and South Carolina artists, the eclectic gallery is well known in the area for its collection of oil paintings, watermedia, pastels, photography, hand-blown glass, fused glass, pottery and clay sculptures, turned and carved wood, unique home décor items and artisan jewelry. There are two onsite kilns and five wheels used by the gallery’s pottery students. Art classes are currently being offered on a limited basis. Call the gallery for details. The Frame Center, located within the gallery, is open Wednesday through Friday from noon to 5 pm and by appointment. Call framer Louis Aliotta directly at (910) 368-7351.
Want to go?
Eric McRay: Contemporary Modernist
March 24 through May 1
Reception: Friday, April 9 from 4 to 7 pm
Gallery talk: Saturday, April 10 at noon.
Gallery hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunset River Marketplace, 10283 Beach Drive SW, Calabash