Kevin Francis Gray

Compelling marble sculptures that return stone-carving to the forefront of contemporary art.

Kevin Francis Gray was born in Northern Ireland in 1972, and now lives and works in London, UK.

Did you know?

Unlike many of his peers who use laser cutters and other high-tech tools, Gray works by hand from start to finish - with techniques remarkably similar to those used centuries ago by Italian Renaissance and Baroque sculptors like Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Giuseppe Sanmartino.

Practice

Fashion designer Hedi Slimane, a renowned connoisseur of good taste known for leading luxury houses Saint Laurent and Céline, is an avid collector of the artist's work.

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Practice overview

Marble sculptures by Kevin Francis Gray bring traditional stone-carving techniques into contemporary view. The artist also works with bronze, clay, wood and metal to create a range of busts, standing figures and reclining nudes, as well as group compositions. Art historical influences from neoclassical and modernist sculpture combine with personal musings on life and society. Immensely textural, the works juxtapose hyperreal, gloss finishes with coarse, raw surfaces which highlight the hand of the artist in visceral marks made from gauging fists and fingers. While Gray's early oeuvre features a range of representational veiled figures, his later work moves toward abstraction - still obscuring the identities of his subjects, but in a distinctly different style.

Having grown up during the Troubles in South Armagh, themes of violence resonate through Gray's practice, albeit subconsciously. Undertones of these difficult histories lived by the artist are sometimes channeled through mythology. Young Sun Boy (2020) for example depicts the Irish God of sun, Lugh. The marble bust sees Gray’s signature carving techniques contrasted against a bronze plate that slices through the body of the character. While this is a physically invasive gesture, it is simultaneously balanced by the delicacy and tender beauty of the work. It is this combination of elegance and the grotesque, realism and abstraction, history and folklore, that makes Gray an exciting and reverent sculptor working today.

“It’s what lies beneath that fascinates me.”Kevin Francis Gray