Frank Hallam Day, Michael Mapes, Brian Porray

Preview: Thursday 31 July (6-9pm)
Exhibition: 1 August – 27 September 2014

Cut/Copy/Paste presents three American artists who explore the boundaries of the contemporary collage and the re-appropriation of images. Though each artist displays a distinct (yet related) body of work, the exhibition presents the artistic practice as limitless and endlessly reinterpretable; an interminable platform for the interrelating discourses and references of re-imagined images in a contemporary context. The pastel-colour smudged mark made of a fragment in time, the kaleidoscope of a repeated geometric motif, the snippets of photographs and locks of hair – the reinvented; the cut, the copied, the pasted.

Frank Day’s photographic series titled ‘Ship Hulls’ at first glance masquerade as renderings of Rothko’s oil paintings – heavy in thick brush strokes and rich blocks of colour. While they were taken in the ebb and flow of the tides surrounding the working quays and isolated backwaters of Lagos, Nigeria and Douala, the photographer cites the history of painting as a main source of inspiration, likening his works to painters Henri Rousseau and Jan Van Eyck among others. The traditional oil landscape is therefore transformed and reimagined here. Pasted in the form of digital close-ups of ancient and abandoned hulls that breath life into what are otherwise lonely graveyard African harbors.

In contrast, New York artist Michael Mapes is technically a portraitist, though he rarely uses paint as his primary medium. Instead, the artist deconstructs then reconstructs some of the Dutch Master’s most famous 17thcentury portraits, recreating the human visage by arranging and compartmentalizing fragments of a person’s life; dissected photographs, locks of hair, handwriting samples, jewelry – into highly detailed works of art. The specimen boxes he creates, exist in an uncanny area between photography and sculpture, functioning both as portraits within a rich historical canon, and as fascinating and painstakingly rendered scientific canvases.

Adding onto the colour sensation of the exhibition, Las Vegas-born Painter and collagist Brian Porray’s compositions transform collage into a visual force field of energy. A seemingly chaotic miscellany of patterns unfurls across the – often unabashedly large-scale – canvas, rife with triangles, stripes, checkerboards and rainbow arches, painted and patched together, freewheeling in repeated anarchic and psychedelic motifs. Porray’s choice of medium can be equally as sporadic as his practice, largely utilizing a combination of coloured pencil, spray paint, ink and acrylic, on linen, canvas or paper.

While each of the artists are acutely aware of their artistic predecessors, they exhibit a technical mastery in their practice that gives a fascinating new scope to the age-old artistic process of the deconstruction and reconstruction of the image. While coloured triangular shapes are omnipresent on canvas, paper and linen, tiny photographic fragments are systematically arranged using paintings of the Dutch Masters, and ship hulls pose as traditional oil landscapes, the selected works offer a minefield of aesthetic historical references; reinstating art as endlessly re-interpretable and constantly in flux.


Frank Hallam Day is an active photographer based in Washington DC who captures the colours and textures of open-air markets, caravan sites, isolated landscapes and busy harbors. Citing paintings as among his most important inspirations, his photographs – shot on 8×10, Hasselblad and large format banquet cameras among others – reference a rich canon of art history and offer fascinating insights into humanity’s footprint on the natural world.  

FRANK HALLAM DAY (b.) is a fine art photographer from Washington. His work is represented in numerous museum and private collections in the United States and abroad, including the State Museum of Berlin, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Portland Art Museum, the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Recent solo shows include: Orlando Museum of Art, USA, in 2012, Addison/Ripley Fine Art, Washington, USA, in 2012, Artisphere, Virginia, in 2012, Salisbury University, Maryland, USA, 2012, Goucher College, Baltimore, USA, in 2011. Recent projects include the erasure of personal and cultural memory in East Berlin, and on the impact of globalization on African identity. Frank Day was a winner of the prestigious Leica Oskar Barnack Prize in 2012 and the Bader Prize in 2006. He was Artist in Residence at Acadia National Park in 2007, and was U.S. Cultural Envoy to Ethiopia in 2008. The artist has juried and curated numerous photography shows and competitions in the Washington area.  He is also a writer for Photo Review and has taught photography at the Smithsonian Institution in other local programs. 


Michael Mapes deconstructs the original subject in both a figurative and literal sense by dissecting photographs and then painstakingly reconstructing individual fragments into elaborate 17th-century portraits. His 3D reconstructions are made up of locks of hair, glass vials, magnifiers and gelatin capsules, existing somewhere between photography and sculpture, and solidifying the artist as an elaborate contemporary portraitist and collagist. 

MICHAEL MAPES (b, New York) obtained an MFA from the University of Illinois in 1992. Selected exhibitions include: “Face to Face, Wall to Wall” at the Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT, USA in 2014, solo show at Schoolhouse Gallery, NY, USA: group show, Victorious, Chelsea NYC Raw Art, in 2013, “We Find Our Way”, Parlor Gallery, NJ, USA, in 2012, “Terrible Twos” Parlor Gallery, Asbury Park, NJ, USA, ”Outsiders & Objects” Parlor Gallery, Asbury Park, NJ, USA, in 2011. The artist has been featured in various online platforms such as BBC, CNN, WIRED, This Is Colossal and most recently in the Observer. 


Brian Porray’s cut-and-paste compositions transform collage into a visual force field of energy. At the same time, a blazingly chaotic miscellany of patterns unfolds across every available surface: stripes, checkerboards, circles, square, saw tooth edges, and rainbow arches – all fluctuating continually from crisp and neat to loose and sloppy, wavering and dripping. Porray uses “leet” computer hacker titles for his works, both recalling the digital age we are in while also refusing it through his large-scale hand assemblage, mixed-medium collage, and painting. There is a vigour within his works that is easily sensible immediately upon seeing his images as Porray taps into feelings of unrest and excitement. 
BRIAN PORRAY (b. 1979, Las Vegas) obtained an MFA from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2010. Selected solo exhibitions include ‘No New Moon’, Western Project, LA (2014), -(Darkhorse), Western Project, LA (2012) and Moon Zero X-M, Donna Beam Fine Art, Last Vegas (2010). Selected group exhibitions include Art for Art’s Sake: Selections from the Frederick R Weisman Art Foundation, Barrick Museum, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (2014), New Neon; Light, Paint and Photography, Bedford Gallery, Lesher Center for the Arts, CA (2013), Art for Art’s Sake, Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, Pepperdine University, Malibu (2013), Chain Letter, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, LA (2011) and Tompkins West, Dan Graham Gallery, CA (2011). Porray obtained a residency from the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha (2012), the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant (2010) and is included in the public collections of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, LA, Pizzuti Collection, Ohio, Barrick Museum and the University of Nevada. The artist has been featured in various publications and online platforms such as the Los Angeles Times,  New American Painting, Juxtapoz Magazine, Las Vegas Weekly and Modern Painters Magazine. Forthcoming exhibitions include; Dazed & Confused, Eric Firestone Gallery, NY (2014), NOW-ism: Abstraction Today, Pizzuti Collection, Columbus (2014), and Beers Contemporary, London (2014). Porray lives and works in Los Angeles, California.