PRESENTING | Cameron Gray

PRESENTING | Cameron Gray Mainframe Studios | 01/23/2023

Mainframe is pleased to present new work by ISU Alumni Studio Fellow Cameron Gray. Gray's exhibition featuring two video projects in the Fourth Floor Gallery will be on view through February. The community is invited for Gray's artist talk, which takes place February 24 at 5:00 p.m.

Cameron Gray is a Birmingham born artist, whose work focuses on Blackness in America. He uses his work to help decipher his own understanding of self. He believes that Blackness is a universal force. He tries to reveal a small part of its glory through every work he creates. Through his artistic and social practice, Gray hopes to be a reminder to people of how we got here, with the intention to spark inspiration in Black Futures.

Gray founded The Buxton Initiative in 2020, which is an organization that centers Blackness in the realm of art, music, literature, and film. In 2021, he was the recipient of the Iowa American Rescue Plan grant and the Iowa Arts and Culture Resilience Grant. 

In the first of two videos presented together, The Rumination on Black Joy is an exploration of the beauty and contagious nature that is Black Joy. Visitors watch a perpetual expression of astonishment, wonder, and disbelief. Through the purity of this expression you can see the subject being transported into being a child again watching one of his heroes do something truly awe inspiring. In that same aspect, this video is a video of me. The exact joy and astonishment depicted is the same reaction I had sitting on my parent's brick fireplace as I saw one of my favorite players completely shock me into disbelief in 2001. There are many moments in my childhood that I remember and this moment was one of them. 

In Untitled Abstraction, the video shows a clear blue field with brief moments of a spherical shape flying across the field of view. When you take things out of context you observe them as they truly are, it allows you the space to see the beauty of the act being depicted. Basketball has always been my refuge when things would get tough at school. it was always the place where I knew I was safe to be myself and release a lot of tension. In this video you are witnessing a glimpse of that private moment of mental and physical release. Every time I release the ball and sails to the hoop, I am also releasing my own frustrations and anger. With every shot, I go deeper in the act until there is nothing but the ball, hoop, and me. With the sailing ball, all of my frustrations and anger go with it. In this video, you are watching the by-product of releasing himself from the frustrations of the world.