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NCCU Museum of Art Launches African-American Modernist Series

“March & Clouds,” acrylic on canvas

The North Carolina Central University Art Museum inaugurates its African-American Modernist Series with an exhibit by Raleigh-based artist Eric McRay, beginning November 16, 2008.
The exhibition by the Washington DC native will be the artist’s first museum showing in the Triangle. One of North Carolina’s most promising and versatile young artists, McRay first realized that he wanted to be an artist when an elementary school teacher, noticing his penchant and talent for drawing, asked him to assist with art for the bulletin board. Soon after, he stated that he wanted to become the greatest artist in the world, a declaration that he still harbors today.
McRay would pursue his dream by winning a four-year scholarship to the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore where he graduated with honors in 1987. After training as a designer and working in financial services and computer sales, McRay says he had an epiphany of what his life’s work was to be.
McRay’s versatility is quite apparent in his jazz paintings, collages and strikingly colorful landscapes that have been collected by legions of collectors across North Carolina and beyond. The North Carolina Central University exhibition, however, will present his expressionist landscapes which derive their subject matter from common aspects of North Carolina life.
Included in the exhibition is a series of stark urban and coastal scenes that use vivid colors, played upon by unusual positioning to capture the subtle quietude of his subject matter.
Museum director Kenneth Rodgers says “Inherent in McRay’s landscapes and cityscapes is a certain joie de vivre that expresses the observable world as an inviting, blissful place devoid of the human element. McRay aligns himself with the impressionist and sometimes post-impressionist impulse, yet presents everyday aspects of North Carolina life. His unflinching loyalty to truthfulness and unblinking vision sometimes masks an undertone of simplicity.”
In 1998, McRay was juried into downtown Raleigh's prestigious Artspace. Eric has served in the offices of the president and vice-President of the Artspace Artists Association, as well as served on Artspace's board of directors. McRay has been featured on TV and radio, and in numerous newspapers and magazines. The Raleigh News & Observer named him one of the "Artists to Watch" for 2001. He was also featured in the June 2002 issue of Southern Living magazine.
The North Carolina Central University Art Museum is located on Lawson Street across from the Farrison-Newton Communications Building. For general information or assistance, please call (919) 530-6211. For group visits, please call in advance. The Museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Sunday from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. The Museum is closed on Mondays. The exhibit will be open until December 19, 2008. Admission is free.

Published: Monday, November 10, 2008
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