Sag Harbor artist Ray Colleran is showing a selection of smaller works at The Golden Eagle in East Hampton through the end of April. The artist, who works primarily with mixed media on book pages, has created a fantastic arrangement of pieces in various sizes and frames on one wall.
Together, Colleran‘s collection of works feels somewhat like the diary of a madman at first, but further study of the individual paintings reveals the artist’s sharp wit and sense of humor, as well as a running commentary about war, with equal parts disgust and fascination. War machines, bombs and the men who make them are given iconic status in each composition, but Colleran‘s scribbles and mark making over and around them tells a different story.
In one of the larger works, “We Lost,” the painter adds a compulsive check mark motif, like that of a prisoner counting his days in groups of five, or a fighter pilot checking off kills. “Angels,” a collage and oil on canvas nearby, features portraits of three men as saints with halos, but their eyes have been blotted out and all three appear over black boxes and harsh “X” marks, suggesting something sinister is at play.
The meaning of each piece is not clear, but there is no doubt the work is honest. Colleran welcomes the viewer into his subconscious and fearlessly reveals what lives within. There is much to consider here—far beyond a passing glance while shopping for art supplies—be prepared to spend some time.
Sag Harbor painter and Dan’s Papers cover artist Scott Hewett is also showing Small Works at the Golden Eagle through the end of April.