RAE: Unconventional Conviction at Brooklynite Gallery

I know how much effort Rae McGrath puts in when he’s getting ready for shows at his gallery¬†featuring other artists, so I can’t even begin to imagine how hard he must be working for Unconventional Conviction, his own solo show, which opens at Brooklynite on November 20.

I don’t normally copy press releases into posts, but I think this one is worth reading. I don’t believe too many people knew until recently that Rae is an artist, in addition to being a gallerist and filmmaker.

Long before the emergence of Brooklynite Gallery, owner and curator Rae McGrath was constructing artwork of his own in many forms. Schooled in fine arts, raised immersed in the graffiti/breakdance culture of the 80’s and holding down a diverse range of blue collar jobs, has allowed RAE to create an eclectic range of visuals for an exhibition aptly titled “Unconventional Conviction”.

Over the years RAE has spent countless hours on the streets of New York City and other parts of the world, engaging then photographing the everyday person. Usually drawn to the elderly or youth— because of their experiences or lack thereof, RAE often finds similarities to his own life, connecting the dots through his grainy black and white photos which are then hand-painted or silk-screened into pieces that include block text and hand-drawn areas. The second part to RAE’s work involves the gathering and transformation of found objects— namely hundreds of brightly colored plastic laundry detergent bottles. Spending ample time in and around laundromat dumpsters throughout Brooklyn, RAE has amassed quite a collection of these bottles which he then dissects, using cutting techniques once learned while working as a deli worker and butcher. His tales are told on top of mosaic patterns full of vibrant colors and textual information.

For RAE, the vivid and hopeful Pop Art color schemes and graphic detail of the laundry bottles prove to be the perfect juxtaposition to his own urban Brooklyn upbringing and the countless cast of characters of his youthful working class existence. In the end, RAE uses these dynamic combinations to his advantage creating rich and strange alternate realities.

Go visit the show if you live in New York – it should be a fun night!

Image of Rae’s “Snub-Nose” prints via Brooklynite Gallery.

See more of the gallery’s “Snub-Nose” series here.

– Elisa