Sunday, January 30, 2011

Alex Grey Exhibition, Byron Bay, Australia

When I heard Alex Grey was having an exhibition of his work in Byron Bay, I nearly flilpped my shit. My brother first showed me Alex Grey's work a few months ago, and ever since then I think I've looked at every piece he's ever done! I consider him a genius in the true sense of the word. The layers of meaning in his work, his incredible vision and technical ability (the work is so detailed and anatomically accurate it blows the mind) mean that he is one of the greatest artists of our generation. I think one of the greatest artists ever. I bought my brother Alex Grey's book, "Sacred Mirrors" for Christmas and we've both been devouring it. Once friends saw the book, they were also amazed and it wasn't uncommon to find a group of boys all cramming their necks to look at the book and his art. 

On the 27th we journeyed to Byron Bay, a 2.5 hours drive south of Brisbane, through lush hinterland (the intense rain we've been getting does have its perks!). We set up camp, went for a swim (the beach is one of the most beautiful I've seen in Australia), and headed to the exhibition with no expectations. We weren't sure if Alex Grey would be there, or what the exhibition would be like. I thought it might just be a hall space with his, and other artists, work displayed. Oh how wrong I was! Not only was he there (also with his artist wife, Allison), but he also gave a presentation that went 'behind the scenes'...he talked about the meaning behind his "Sacred Mirrors" series, as well as other projects he has been working on, such as building a temple, converting a New York loft into a "Church"/gallery and the community they have developed there. Allison talked about their love story too, which I found was quite obvious that Alex and Allison are still madly, deeply in love, despite being together for around 30 years. BUT WAIT...there's more! After the presentation he said to get the party started, and he and Allison started live painting. Que insane dub-glitch-hop-psy-breaks awesomeness, a room full of uninhibited and free-spirited people, brilliant artwork from some local artists such as Paul Abad, and ALEX GREY PAINTING RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. It's awesome when expectations are exceeded so overwhelmingly!

This is an original painting, and I cannot even begin to tell you how beautiful it is in the flesh. He said the painting was based on his experience with Allison where external, bodily boundaries dissipated and a single, united heart joined them. Pretty powerful stuff. 

Another of his original artworks!

 Alex Grey and his wife, at the end of their presentation. 

 A very dark me, next to Alex Grey! He needed help with the flash on his camera, and I was the first there to help...I couldn't believe I was in that situation! I wanted to get him alone to grab a photo, but he had people talking to him constantly. 

The exhibition room

Alex Grey actually painting right in front of me

The gang off to swim at Byron Bay :) I'm ashamed to admit this was my first time to Bryon...shameful considering I live only 2.5 hours away! I wasn't sure what to expect...there's alot of hype surrounding Byron, but I'm pleased to say that I thought it was awesome. The people are probably the most relaxed and friendly I've ever met in keen to go back!

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