Friday, November 19, 2010

You can call him Rae

By Meredith Deliso

Brooklynite Gallery didn’t have to look far for its next show.

Rae McGrath, the owner of the Bedford-Stuyvesant space, is giving its white walls up for his own work in “Unconventional Conviction,” opening Nov. 20.

If you’re suspicious of a curator essentially curating his own work, you won’t be disappointed. The work of Rae, as he’s known, is vibrant, engaging Pop Art that speaks to his Brooklyn upbringing (see more art here).

In these new, largely portrait-based works, Rae finds his subjects in people he meets on the street — an afro-wearing youth here, a dreadlocks-sporting older man there. The photos are engaging enough on their own, but he replicates them by hand-painting or silkscreening the black and white image of their faces, and then adds splashes of color by deliberately pasting the labels of discarded plastic laundry detergent bottles, cut up using techniques he learned as a butcher.

That last tactic may sound like somewhat of a gimmick, but the resulting pieces are vibrant, intriguing portraits full of life and, of course, conviction.

“Unconventional Conviction” at Brooklynite Gallery [334 Malcolm X Blvd. Between Decatur and Bainbridge streets in Bedford-Stuyvesant, (347) 405-5976], Nov. 20-Dec. 18, with an opening reception from 6-9 pm. For info, visit


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