Syntax Issue 10
Denver Syntax

{brianna martray}

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Since an early age, Denver painter Brianna Martray has been moving. Whether it was toward a new experience, or swimming in her sea of self, Martray has nearly always possessed a thirsty brand of kinetic energy.

A Colorado native, Martray has spent a great deal of her life immersed in a variety of processes that appear to have all culminated in the shape of her current allotment. However, working full time as a painter has not come easily. Moreover it has not been sustained with a great, accomplished Hollywood ease. No, the path that unfolded in leading her to this position reflects her current state: Which is a starkly human one, filled with mirrors pointing endlessly inward and creating parallel shadows in her process of reaching out.

Like her paintings, Brianna Martray’s story is not adorned with a simple, linear plot. There is no pencil outline for her life painting. There is no sustained protagonist and antagonist. That is if she isn’t one in the same: the beginning, middle and end. That is to say that if she isn’t the glue for the entire tale, then nothing else is. Because if Martray’s story has been about one thing it has been about the expansive self and the process of seeing the interconnectivity of life surrounding.

In this, Martray’s paintings may be the mirrors of her life.

Her analogy is a sheet glass which has shattered. While the pieces are separate, there is a unity. There is an element of connectivity. Of everything being cut from the same substance.

Having come from a family of world travelers, Martray’s early desire to travel was nurtured and grown by those around her. She has visited more countries than she has fingers; she has done this, in part, on her own. She has been to the most remote of islands. In this, as with her work, there is a pronounced component of conquering. In this, there are analogies – to process and to her work. To art.

For Martray, art has always been a part of life. For if nothing else her work is firmly entrenched in conquering challenges. At the age of 4 she began playing the piano. As an adult, she produced a spoken word album and has written fiction. And between her successes she has traveled. Lived. Strived. Pushed herself to understand what it means to find belief and love in one’s self.

In the traveling, the painting and in the living Martray has always been an artist. Whether it was honing her internal meter through the transference of experience or selecting colors for her wooden picture planes – the tasks are all predicated on being artful, selective and thoughtful.

Martray’s paintings are a statement on process. With her work, only the colors and the shape of the working plane are chosen in the beginning. For Martray, the lasting process is divine. Once wrapped inside of it, there are no mistakes. Moreover and what her experiences of traveling around the world by herself have taught her, is to hone that kind of clarity which reveals the process and when and what is right in the moment.

She doesn’t use brushes, but instead uses her fingers. Her nails. In this there is a pronounced intimacy in her work. In this there is a certain transference of experience: of trusting yourself and relying on your internal meter – because Martray doesn’t begin with a drawing or a photograph.

Martray’s paintings are optimistic. Predicated on color and the movement of her hands within that color, her work is at once bigger than her, but it is also intensely personal. Her work is emotional. It is therapeutic. To get involved as Martray does –with her fingers in the paint – it has to be therapeutic. But she also remains one step away – in a place of strength, where she is able to somehow separate herself from her work and get to that place of form and color and everything larger than even the human spirit.

Her landscapes are surreal. They are not the seaside villages of postcards and television specials. Instead hers are places unseen like the soul’s landscape. As Martray exclaims, “while the Earth is a beautiful place, I would rather paint Mars”.

In the summer of 2007, Martray has stood tall on her strong work ethic. And her ability to focus and push herself is a sure fortune because just two shows she was forced to produce 40-50 pieces in a very short period of time. Whether it has been exhibitions or commissions, or her own personal drive, Brianna Martray is moving forward – pushing herself into more complicated landscapes.

Stay tuned to Brianna Martray and her upcoming exhibitions by going to: www.briannamartray.com.