Eric McRay exhibit Mar. 24 – May 1; reception April 9


Natural Beauty, acrylic on canvas, 36×36

Sunset River Marketplace art gallery will host Eric McRay: Contemporary Modernist from March 24 through May 1, gallery owner Ginny Lassiter has announced. A reception to meet the artist is scheduled for Friday, April 9 from 4 – 7 p.m. and a gallery talk by the artist is set for the following day, Saturday, April 10 at 12 noon.

Eric McRay’s artwork overflows with bright colors, expressive styles and energized designs. In this body of work, he has used non-objective abstraction in the tradition of the New York School of the 1940s and 1950s. His focus is on subjective emotional expression with a particular emphasis on spontaneous creative actions. The exhibition will include over 20 abstract works in acrylic.

“Eric’s work is so vibrant, so moving. I can’t wait to have it in the gallery,” Lassiter says. “I first met Eric years ago at an Artspace fundraiser in Raleigh. My husband and I bought his painting! I’ve been wanting to bring him to Calabash ever since, so I’m thrilled that our schedules finally jelled.

A native of Washington, DC, McRay received a BFA degree at the Maryland Institute where he earned a four-year scholarship for his artistic talent.  Now living in Raleigh, NC, the high energy painter has been featured on television and radio as well as numerous newspapers, magazines and online media outlets. The Raleigh News & Observer named him on of the “Artists to Watch.” He has been featured in Our State Magazine and Southern Living. Collectors of his work include the SAS Institute, Duke University Medical Center, North Carolina Central University Art Museum, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and Western Wake Hospital. McRay was also a participant in the U.S. State Department’s Art In Embassies program, which displayed his work at the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Asked recently by a collector why people buy his art, McRay answered this way:

“Some collect abstract art because it does not have a specific subject matter. There can be a broad range of reasons why someone would buy a piece of abstract art. For example, someone may like Krispy Kreme, someone else may like Dunkin Donuts. It’s subjective and a matter of taste. With abstract art, it’s how someone may feel emotionally when they see the piece of artwork (similar to when they listen to classical music or jazz music). Neither has lyrics, but they have emotional content. Abstract art has emotional, psychological and spiritual content.

When someone collects abstract art it can be for investment. It could be decorative reasons because they want something that looks visually engaging, but no pictures of people or things. Someone may buy abstract art because of how it affects them emotionally, as I stated before based off the colors, shapes, textures and so forth.

Now, concerning someone buying art only because that work is produced by me. That is also a possible factor, because I’ve spent a lifetime building my brand and reputation so someone will invest in my work versus someone else. For example, someone goes into a restaurant and asks for Coca Cola. They don’t ask for RC Cola.

Once again abstract art isn’t necessarily about the specific thing you see, but how does that image make you feel. Instrumental music whether techno, jazz, classical, or Muzak; all have an impact on others yet have no lyrics. That is Abstract Art!”

About Sunset River Marketplace

Located in coastal Brunswick County, Sunset River Marketplace caters to both tourists and a growing local community of full time residents seeking fine art for their homes and businesses. Featuring work by approximately 150 North and South Carolina artists, the eclectic gallery is well known in the area for its collection of oil paintings, watermedia, pastels, photography, hand-blown glass, fused glass, pottery and clay sculptures, turned and carved wood, unique home décor items and artisan jewelry.

There are two onsite kilns and five wheels used by the gallery’s pottery students. Art classes are currently being offered on a limited basis. Call the gallery for details.

Special Covid 19 Notice: To meet North Carolina State mandates and guidelines, Sunset River Marketplace requires that patrons wear face coverings and requires the use of hand sanitizer plus six-foot social distancing between gallery visitors and at the cash register.  The gallery staff conducts thorough cleaning of surfaces upon opening and closing and during the day and has placed complimentary hand sanitizer throughout the gallery for visitor use.

The gallery address is: 10283 Beach Drive SW, Calabash, NC 28467.  Hours are Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, call 910.575.5999 or visit the website at Daily updates are available on the gallery’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

The FrameCenter, located within the gallery, is open Wednesday through Friday, 12 noon – 5 p.m. and by appointment. Call framer Louis Aliotta directly at 910.368.7351.