L’acqua che tocchi dei fiumi è l’ultima di quella che andò e la prima di quella cheviene. Così il tempo presente
(Leonardo da Vinci)
The water which you touch in the river is the last of that which has already passed and the first of that which is to come; such is the present
(Leonardo da Vinci)
Leo Ray — Tradition and Innovation
Joy and Sorrow
Everything is a gift
Leo Ray’s paintings embrace the reminiscences of the History of Art and the impressions of our immediate and contemporary life with humor and love. They are always relevant to our most humble human behavior. Our virtues and vices, affected by modern technologies, still leave us, as always, with a longing to remain human, including the behavior which is determined by the most primitive instincts. The lack of compassion, love and care leave a modern man in a constant state of stress and loneliness, with a continuing, desperate search for protection and most of all – for love. As modern life alienates us from others, the lack of relationships between human beings is replaced by the friendship with dogs and cats. We can notice this in Ray’s paintings on several occasions. Besides Dog and Cat, the Bird is another specific symbol which dominates his paintings. Leo sometimes feels that he himself, and also others, are transformed into birds whose voices differ one from another, as well as their behavior. Ray’s identification with birds springs from his intention to emphasize the symbolism of the human soul, which acts according to the changing moods and circumstances, as birds do. Contrary to Lafontaine, Krilov and Eliezer Steinberg, Leo Ray translated his own vocabulary into non-written fables and proverbs, arranged and painted in rich and vivid colors and shapes.
The identification with birds varies and transfers to other animals, such as the donkey, the horse, the fish and many others. A good fable is short and concentrated in its message; similarly Leo Ray’s paintings are clear and simple. Ray can portray the most terrible and scary situation in a simple and open-minded manner that makes it easily understood to a large number of people. He suggests, but does not criticize.
Leo Ray’s manner is gentle and his delicate humor raises a smile on the faces of his viewers. Ray is appreciated and respected by the public who do not feel frustrated but happy to be understood and return this feeling as they look at Leo Ray’s paintings. The paintings represent a faithful mirror of people’s happiness and failures, misfortunes and successes, pains and joys. Ray’s Art is indeed a faithful mirror projecting people’s lives, environment, culture and dreams. In this respect his paintings tend to present a key that can open the door of consciousness and awareness and lead the beholder to feelings of happiness.
This key also connects between time and space, it enables one to understand oneself more fully in a mirror of the past, connecting it to the present. Leo Ray recreates examples from classical art as a channel connecting the past, the present and the future. Therefore it is an “Infinity”. Leo Ray once said, that an artist is a magician. He can transform the images of the past to something more powerful by placing them in a different context. Personages from historical paintings become heroes performing new roles in a drama of modern life.