Mike Bray lives and works in Eugene. Bray received his MFA from the University of Oregon. Upcoming and recent exhibitions include Light Grammar/Grammar Light at Fourteen30 Contemporary (Portland, Oregon) and Marble, Mirrors, Pictures, and Darkness at INOVA (Institute of Visual Art) at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Bray has been awarded a Hallie Ford Fellowship, Joan Shipley Award, and an Individual Artist Fellowship through the Oregon Arts Commission. The artist’s work has recently been reviewed in Artforum and Daily Serving. Bray’s commitment to fellow artists is illustrated in his roles as co-founder and co-director of Ditch Projects artist-run space in Springfield, OR, and as a founding member of the Coast Time Artist Residency in Lincoln City, OR. Bray is represented by Fourteen30 Contemporary in Portland.
In my work, I have examined moments in film where the fourth wall, the plane of the screen or barrier of the stage, has been broken by either the performer or audience. My recent work is an examination of the use of the camera in Antonioni’s BlowUp by the main character as an intermediary.
My interest in Michelangelo Antonio’s film BlowUp lies in its being a series of cinematic images about a series of photographs. The viewer watches the protagonist–the photographer– look, take, develop, and interpret a series of images. While the use of the camera allows the photographer to study a captured moment, the camera cannot help to interpret what is being viewed. Time gained by stopping a moment should be an advantage, but ultimately leads to unclear answers. The camera has become a device that we trust at times more than our own eyes. It is a system of glass and mirror that shares as much relation to science, as it does to magic.
A camera is a system of glass and mirror that moves light through space, by using a lens comprised of glass elements, a reflex mirror, a pentaprism, and finally an eyepiece. Through experience we are aware that aiming the barrel of the lens and pressing the shutter release will result in a still photo or moving image that we are able to study, pause, rewind, fast forward and manipulate. Concealed in this process is the system of internal events that my work has become more and more preoccupied with.
In an effort to comprehend the space that the light traverses through the camera and its system of optics, my work has begun to reorder the sequence of the lens, to mirror, to lens, to pentaprism, to the eyepiece in multiple variations and places. My two most recent pieces, Intersect theory and Blocking out the sun both respond to Gordon Matta Clark’s Conical Intersect. Not as a response to his interest in “anarchitecture” but a misconstrued speculation that his deconstruction of architecture could in some way operate as a system of lenses.