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Ann Parks McCray calls Wilmington, North Carolina, home. This southeastern coastal area’s natural beauty inspires her abstract naturescapes as do beautiful landscapes and seascapes wherever she travels. Nature is her primary source of inspiration. Many of McCray’s pieces express the essence of sky, sea, and a dense lushness of trees. A bold palette with generous paint produces an energetic textured feel. These renditions are interpretations of moments in time experienced in particular locations. Many of her over-sized paintings are suited to large airy spaces where light and distance combine to emphasize a sense of freedom in the work.
Marrying beauty with function to harmonize space is a personal goal for McCray. She believes that one’s visual experience is both psychologically and emotionally significant to a positive life experience. Ann notices that art inspires and comforts, heals and rejuvenates—that the human heart rests in beauty. Convinced that art is meant to work as well as please, her pieces are placed in healing spaces in Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, and Montana.
McCray explains her work stylistically as Post-Impressionist with a modern twist, similar in feel to works appearing “after Monet and before Kandinsky.” These two artists are primary influences as are Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, Camille Pissaro, Georges Seurat, and Edouard Vuillard. While not a plein air painter, McCray’s immediate outdoor experience is often reflected on canvas. The paintings, in process and completed, often offer the artist deeper reflections on the everyday.
An intuitive painter, McCray explains her process: “I begin a piece without defined intention; I wait for a composition to emerge. Listening to music, working quickly, I choose colors and utensils by feel. Beginning with a brush, I often incorporate spatula or wooden brush handles. I turn the canvas, so a finished piece has been worked from a number of directions. I study each piece in the full-wall mirror in my studio—to consider the painting in its reversed reflection—for hints of additions or revisions. This technique helps me merge further with the process.”
McCray studied art at Amarillo College in Amarillo, Texas. She began a professional art career 25 years ago, creating large hand-built nonfunctional pieces in high-fire stoneware pottery. As a potter, one of her favorite aspects was glazing—applying abstract designs to clay. Eventually, she turned full attention to painting on canvas. She works primarily in oils. In addition to Cortile Gallery in Provincetown, MA, McCray is represented in North Carolina at Sunset River Marketplace Gallery in Calabash, FatCat Ltd. with Priba Furniture & Interiors in Greensboro, and New Elements Gallery in Wilmington.