Although still very young, artist Eleanor Ray has already established herself as an important voice in modern painting. What contrasts with her critical success are the unassuming subjects and the tiny size of her canvases: all that she paints are minuscule familiar landscapes, interiors, and urban scenes in a fairly conventional technique. Nevertheless, her defensive posture (which intrigued art critic Jed Perl, for his piece “The Rectangular Canvas is Dead. Richard Diebenkorn and the problems of modern painting“) is contradicted by a psychological introspection into the depicted scenes as well as a virtuoso use of colour: as explained by John Goodrich on Hyperallergic, “she weights hues so that they tangibly embody, rather than merely denote, the visual aspects of a scene“.
Doors and windows are often visible in her paintings, in a sort of “frame within the frame” approach. She comments: “Often the things outside seem to relate to the window’s shape, or the grid of its panes, in the way that the interior of a painting relates to its own edges. (…) The frame of a window or doorway takes on a clear relationship to the painting’s flat surface. And it can have a figurative presence that remains anonymous but not totally impartial.”
Although obviously figurative, the subject matter of their paintings denotes an interest in abstraction: only when the artist is removed from a familiar scene, she admits, she is able to paint it, as if only in that condition she was “seeing something more basic — its abstract qualities — rather than my particular associations with the place“.