In Polynomial Identities, David Ryan Viray delves into particular concepts that bear proof of life’s dualities. Mystified by equations and the operative processes that lead to actual answers, the artist explores artmaking as a means of problem solving and speculating at how everything seems to balance each other out.
Viray uses familiar images and renders them in exacting detail, staying faithful to form as he stretches their spheres of significance. Skyscapes are painted in glorious light to simulate a conversation between God’s Eye View and Man’s Eye View, with scale defining the expected perspectives from each side of the dialogue. If God had feet, these would be the clouds he would step upon to take a peek at his creations – the other outlook would be what a human being sees when he looks up to heaven in supplication towards a higher power.
With Polarity, Viray mounts two pieces of thickly-painted color blocks of red and blue. Inspired by his fascination with Stephen Hawking’s theories and the Doppler Shift – or put simply, how light from moving objects will appear to have different wavelengths depending on the relative motion of the source and the observer, which was put into documented experimentation with a race car, he sets off each pure color against the other, warm and cool tones serving contradictions of equal intensity from opposite edges of the visible spectrum. This is an up close interpretation of looking at the night sky and seeing stars twinkle blue light, then red, from millions of lightyears away, or how a frequency change in light can be distinguished distinctly by the naked eye.
Creator vs Creation scrutinizes an artist’s foundation of grounding his means of livelihood on modeling basic shapes to come up with composed juxtapositions that should lead to aesthetically pleasing, or at least conceptually sound, results. It also posits the question if God is the Creator of all that is and humans are reflections of Him, could God have possibly made a terrible mistake if the beings he created used their ingenuity to create antimatter at CERN’s antiproton decelerator in their relentless pursuit of learning?
Right Arm is part of a pair presenting the human scapula and the bones attached to it, which might invoke references of left-wing and right-wing tendencies, as well as the controversies involved in literally taking arms for one’s principles and beliefs.
Finally, two sides converge on a center line in Axis, with branches spreading out of to different directions resembling lungs with its interconnecting blood vessels all mapped out. By portraying a tree, the artist seems to be reminding us of the breaths we take for granted each day, and how they contribute to the life cycles of everything else that exists on earth.
Technically, polynomial identities are just equations that are true, but identities are particularly useful for showing the relationship between two seemingly unrelated expressions.
Factoring in Viray’s previous exhibitions, the artist seems to have developed not only his critical eye as he investigates atypical ways of manipulating elements and using ingenuity to explore balance, relationships, identities and boundaries, but his and his audiences’ critical thinking as well. In delving into the mysteries of the expanding universe and relating it to his own practice, he draws on both art and sciences as he tries to make sense of it all, proving that validity depends on limitless permutations that may sometimes defy rationality.
Artworks from the Show
Polarity (diptych), David Viray, 2018, Oil on canvas, 7½×9½ in each
Creators vs Creations, David Viray, 2018, Oil on canvas, 16×16 in
Axis, David Viray, 2018, Oil on canvas, 42×48 in
Right Arm, David Viray, 2018, Oil on canvas, 48×36 in
God's Eye View & Man's Eye View (diptych), David Viray, 2018, Oil on canvas, 16½×11 in and 8×10 in