@ Riverside Art Museum

Exhibition: June 6–August 4, 2019

Opening Reception: Thursday, June 6, 2019 | Members’ Preview: 5 p.m.–6 p.m., Public Reception: 6 p.m.–8 p.m.

Artist Statement 

I cannot escape my love for Pop Art. I never could. It’s part of my DNA.

I was born in the same year that Pop Art (as fine art) came into the spotlight of the world and their images have had profound effects on my life and my art. The clean lines, bright colors, and powerful energy were very strong influences on me. I always loved the simplicity in which Pop Art communicates large ideas through the simplest of means. My canvas is simple geometric cubes . . . very similar to the ones I grew up playing with as a child. I paint with bold colors and clean lines on simple geometric forms and combine them with powerful design and well-thought-out imagery. My intention is to create my own unique and recognizable visual language. Something that is not easy to do in today’s world. 

Todd Gray is a modern-day contemporary pop artist. He says, “What I am doing is more or less sampling what great pop artists have sampled in the past . . . be it Warhol’s soup cans or Brillo boxes, or Lichtenstein’s cartoons or Indiana’s numbers . . . I’m using abbreviated and sampled classic images of pop from the past and trying to combine them into new, relevant, and recognizable contemporary pop art . . . cartoons, superheroes, hashtags, social media, emojis, and so many other things that our modern-day culture embrace are all elements of today’s contemporary pop art. These were all created and built upon the backs of popular cultural images of the past. The classic pop artists of the late fifties and sixties brought this into the true fine art realm and I am continuing this tradition by intermixing them into my own unique and recognizable visual language.” 

Among Todd Gray’s many artistic accomplishments are an iconic mural, recently completed at Ground Zero at the World Trade Center, and a three-year touring museum show that has traveled to ten different museums throughout the United States. 

Todd Gray has been a fine artist for over thirty years and his studios are located in Los Angeles, California.

Artist Statement 2.0

I think that art needs to be fundamentally beautiful and pretty to look at, like a melody in a song. A song with no melody (to me) is like an art piece that is not beautiful. It is not that art is not art if it is not beautiful nor music not music without melody, but the intention to create beauty is a primary force that has always driven me. Much of my inspiration is garnered from music as most of my time creating art is done with music as my backdrop. The two are interchangeable. So, it comes as no surprise that music metaphors are indelibly intertwined with my artistic definitions. Secondly, I believe that art should say something like the lyrics in a song. And finally, my highest goal—and the one I always strive for—would be to create art that is somehow meaningful . . . and profound . . . and significant, like great music, which mixes profoundly moving lyrics with incredible melody . . . like Bob Marley or John Lennon or Bob Dylan. These are the simple yardsticks and beacons I use and I have more or less held to them steadfast through the years. I might have different intentions and desires with regards to each individual body of work, but my core beliefs always hold true to these simple maxims.

Exhibit-Related Programming

Opening Reception: Thursday, June 6, 2019 | Members’ Preview: 5 p.m.–6 p.m., Public Reception: 6 p.m.–8 p.m.

Please join us for the opening of Pop!

Coffee & Conversation: Pop!

RAM Members! Join us for Coffee and Conversation: Pop! on Friday, June 7, at 10 a.m. Artist Todd Gray will be in conversation with Curator Todd Wingate as they talk about the history and importance of Pop Art and how it influences Gray’s work. Join the conversation, partake in some light refreshments, and enjoy the Pop! exhibition. Please RSVP by emailing vfound@riversideartmuseum.org or calling us at 951.684.7111.

Pop Art (Youth/Teen Art Class): July 22–26, 1 p.m.–4 p.m.

Look at famous artists who were part of the American Pop Art movement. We’ll use them as inspiration to create our very own Pop Art pieces. Click here for more information on pricing, including our Early Bird and other discounts.

This exhibition is generously sponsored by:

Lucile Arntzen