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Open Invitation

A Palo Alto artist gets ready to welcome the public into her studio, where she creates colorful collages and paintings.

Christine Gray, with the tools of her trade, and her painting “Astigmat’s Study” in the background.



In a corner of Christine Gray’s studio, a work in progress rests on the floor—a silvery gray interwoven pattern that she envisions will be incorporated into a depiction of an interior. It is one of the many pieces that Gray plans to have ready in time for Silicon Valley Open Studios, which will be held in May and gives the public a chance to meet local artists, seeing where and how they create. Gray’s space at Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto will be open the second weekend of the month. (Studios throughout the Peninsula and South Bay will be participating over the course of three weekends.) 

Raised in Austin, Texas, Gray studied studio art, with an emphasis in painting, at the University of Texas there. She then completed an MFA at the University of California, Santa Barbara, before decamping to the East Coast to teach painting and drawing at Virginia Commonwealth University. About two years ago, her husband’s job as a software engineer brought the couple to the Bay Area—where Gray continues to instruct. In the fall, she taught at San Jose State, and she is currently on staff at Castilleja School. 

Among the art on view and for sale in her studio are collages composed of vinyl fragments that she painted and then arranged on paper. Last year, she completed more than 90 collages, including 50 6-inch squares ($75 each). She is now concentrating on painting—specifically, interior-themed works ($500 to $5,700). A 48-by-36-inch piece, entitled “Astigmat’s Study,” is based on her house in Virginia, and the previous owner’s belongings that were on display when she first saw the place. “It was an imagining of this character—this person who wants to study and learn about the world and is interested in a lot of topics,” she says. “Rather than being an expert at one thing, trying to learn about all these different things shown in the painting—like unified physics, cave painting, geology, evolution—generates confusion. So these books are falling off the shelves, and the information in them is just confounding, and, therefore, they turn into these black-and- white patterns.” 

Last year marked Gray’s SVOS debut. “This year,” she says, “I am most excited to exhibit a new series of oil paintings that coalesce the graphic sensibilities of my vinyl collages in spaces that push into physical space with oil paint. I look forward to discussing these new ideas with visitors to my studio. It is always so fun to share my ideas and process.”

Silicon Valley Open Studios: May 7–8, May 14–15 and May 21–22


Originally published in the May issue of Silicon Valley

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