Matt Bray abandoned a successful career in banking to become a full time artist; currently studying MA fine art at the University of Kent with studios in Chatham’s Historic Dockyard. Although still a relatively new figure on the British art scene, his affecting paintings of neon zombies and forlorn heroes have been featured in several art books and have a large online following. He recently reached the final stages of the online art competition ‘Saatchi Showdown’ run by the Saatchi Gallery.
My work deals with feelings of alienation that result from the contemporary shift towards hegemony and the globalisation of capitalism. I use the application of Abstract Expressionist technique to engage with the human figure; allowing the paint to exist on its own terms while dealing with contemporary issues. My approach to painting is in the tradition of the London School, Bay Area Figurative movement and neo-expressionists.
I am currently interested in the character of the zombie for its ability to represent the dehumanising aspects of consumerism and the mind numbing effect of TV while retaining a sense of humour. As gloomy as such subjects can easily become, zombies possess the levity to make us laugh while showing us the worst of ourselves. I would like to think the figures in “Human / Inhuman” possess a childish innocence and painterly exuberance which belie their role of sublimated anxiety.
“A self-taught artist, Matt Bray works according to the Remodernist Manifesto written in 1999 by Billy Childish and Charles Thompson. He likes to invoke a sense of classicism and modernity in his work by re-using existing objects.”
[‘Made In Medway’ published autumn 2007]
“It’s a rare thing these days to find work that has any real content over form and style. People make all too much of originality and forsake authenticity.
I think Matt Bray’s work is a sure Triumph of this.”
[Pete Molinari – singer/song writer]
“There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual – become clairvoyant. We reach then into reality. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom.
It is in the nature of all people to have these experiences; but in our time and under the conditions of our lives, it is only a rare few who are able to continue in the experience and find expression for it.
At such times there is a song going on within us, a song to which we listen. It fills us with surprise. We marvel at it. We would continue to hear it. But few are capable of holding themselves in the state of listening to their own song. Intellectuality steps in and as the song within us is of the utmost sensitiveness, it retires in the presence of the cold, material intellect. It is aristocratic and will not associate itself with the commonplace – and we fall back and become our ordinary selves. Yet we live in the memory of these songs which in moments of intellectual inadvertence have been possible to us. They are the pinnacles of our experience and it is the desire to express these intimate sensations, this song from within, which motivates the masters of all art."