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Colin Fraser Gray

Our River: city floodplain

"... perhaps reminiscent of our eyes, looking out to see what we have done to the land around us."

Colin Fraser Gray, artist

Photo courtesy of the artist



Colin Fraser Gray is a visual artist with a background spanning over five decades in the art world.


Born in 1952 and raised in England, Gray made California his home over 40 years ago and has since become an integral part of the artistic landscape in the region. Gray's artistic journey began at Leeds Polytechnic in the United Kingdom, where he honed his creative expression in the rigorous and exploratory environment of this famous art department. Early on, he exhibited his drawings and sculptures, gaining recognition through exhibitions such as in the Northern Young Contemporaries and at the Serpentine Gallery in London. These college experiences fostered a fearless and critical approach to art-making, shaping Gray's artistic vision.


In 1981, Gray relocated to California to pursue a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. He quickly immersed himself in the local art scene, joining the faculty of the College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Alongside his teaching responsibilities, Gray exhibited his works in solo shows in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and group exhibitions nationwide. Notably, he also created several public artworks in Southern California, including a prominent piece on the Metro Blue Line in Los Angeles. His artwork has been exhibited in venues including The Smithsonian Building Museum, San Francisco Airport, and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery in Los Angeles, Fargo Art Museum, Riverside Art museum, Aspen Art Museum and various others.


As the creative director of the VITA Art Center, Gray plays a pivotal role in its dynamic and artist-run programming and exhibits. Gray's contributions to the art world have been recognized through awards and grants, including a Pollack Krasner Grant.


I can't imagine anyone who does not like rivers in their natural state and even when dry remind us of the season we are in, and where we are in the rhythm of life. While making these artworks I reflected on the vitality of moving water, and how it might react around architectural spaces, not so much as a vision of a grande deluge, but to illuminate a touch of the excitement that water brings into our lives.


The architectural forms of dull office buildings we have surrounded ourselves with, and coincidentally are often un-rentable due to the change in our work habits, but stand as representations of us, stark and isolated from nature, with only a couple of lights illuminating the interior, and perhaps reminiscent of our eyes, looking out to see what we have done to the land around us. 


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