Legacies 2002

November 30 – December 28

Alva Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of its fourth annual Legacies show featuring multiple generations of artists from the same family. This year’s exhibition includes Cleve Gray and his son, Luke Gray, along with John Matt and Mary Billingsley and their son, Tom Matt. The opening reception will be from 5:30 to 7:30 on Saturday, November 30th.

Cleve Gray is an elder in the genre of abstract expressionist painting. His career has spanned over sixty years and his work hangs in some of the nation’s most respected museums. Cleve’s recent exhibition at the Berry-Hill Galleries in New York featured the large oil canvases for which he is best known. Early in 2001 Cleve returned, after a hiatus of several decades, to the medium of watercolor. Several of these small, intimate, jewel-colored works on paper will be part of the Legacies exhibition.

Luke Gray works simultaneously in a number of different pictorial languages. His exhibitions become investigations into his own identity as an abstract painter. Whether working directly on walls or on canvas, whether employing gestural brushstrokes or hard-edged planes of color, his work is always spontaneously generated. In addition to drawings and paintings, Luke will execute a new wall mural for the exhibition.

John Matt is both a painter and a sculptor. His recent show at the Chester Gallery featured his latest oil paintings. The Legacies exhibition focuses on his sculptures, all of which are first conceived as drawings. According to John, “Drawing allows the creative flow of ideas and innovative possibilities to be discovered.” On display will be geometric bronze reliefs, a series of small-scale bronze sculptures, and intricate cable maquettes which explore new possibilities in three dimensional art.

In contrast to the metallic, three-dimensional sculpture of husband John, Mary Billingsley’s wall hangings, though equally geometric, are created from soft and vibrant fabrics. At first glance her hangings seem to be simply designed. Upon further reflection, however, they reveal themselves as elaborately colored compositions in which the fabrics serve the same role as the pigments in a painting.

Tom Matt’s giclee prints literally bring the front pages of the New York Times to life. Scenes of the city from the Brooklyn Bridge to Saks Fifth Avenue are drawn on location on the current issue of the newspaper with pastels and pastel pens. The drawings are then photographed and printed in limited editions. Tom’s prints evoke a sense of timelessness; his city scenes could easily be mistaken for New York City 50 years ago and yet they were all produced in the past year on current newspaper pages. He will be showing 12 works from his most recent series.

LEGACIES 2002 will be on view during regular gallery hours, Tuesday through Saturday, 11-5pm through December 21st. ALVA Gallery is located at 54 State Street, New London. For further information or images, call 860-437-8664 or visit

VIEW ARTISTS:   Cleve Gray   |   Luke Gray   |   John Matt   |   Mary Billingsley   |   Tom Matt