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Ed Gray’s Innocence & Experience

October 15, 2023
by the gentle author

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Portrait of Ed Gray by Sarah Ainslie


It is my delight to introduce this lively selection of paintings and drawings from Ed Gray’s new exhibition, Scenes of Innocence & Experience, 20th October – 6th November at House of Annetta, 25 Princelet St, E1 6QH.

Ed’s visceral paintings capture the tumultuous street life of the capital superlatively, teeming with diverse characters and delighting in the multiple dramas of daily existence. Despite his mild manners, his is an epic, near-apocalyptic vision that glories in the endless struggle of humanity within the urban stew. Yet the overriding impression is not cynical but rather a life-affirming raucous celebration of the indefatigable vitality of Londoners.


Lucky Tiger, Whitechapel Market, 2008

“I often walk through Whitechapel Market on my way to the studio. From a cafe, I watched the men set up the cardboard boxes and I took out my pencil and I began to draw. There is no ‘Lucky Tiger’ in this painting because there is no luck here, no punter will win. The child senses this and she can see past the man’s arm which is covering the switch he is about to make.”

On Whitechapel Waste, 2021

8:48am Liverpool St

Hellfire and Damnation, Mile End Underground Station, 2014

Shoreditch High St Sketch. Late summer evening

Torsion, St Thomas’s Hospital Lambeth (Huck Funt) 2016-20

Ladbroke Groovers, Notting Hill Carnival 2011

Ode to Joy, Westminster Old Palace Yard 2018-19

Still Dreaming, Olympic Way Wembley 2021

Everybody Loves The Sunshine, Parliament Hill Fields Lido

Paintings copyright © Ed Gray

Portrait copyright © Sarah Ainslie

You may also like to read about

Ed Gray, Artist

10 Responses leave one →
  1. October 15, 2023

    I love Ed’s work, it’s great that you’ve featured him. His paintings capture the vibrancy and life of the city but above all they all have a story to tell. I never tire of looking at my print of Liverpool Street in the morning, it reminds me so much of my commute from the suburbs for so many years. Looking forward to visiting the exhibition in Princelet Street.

  2. October 15, 2023

    Thank you so much ?✊️❤️

  3. October 15, 2023

    Please book via
    to visit this exhibition…..

    Opening hours:
    Friday 20 October 3pm-7pm
    Saturday 21 October 11.30am-2pm & 3pm-6pm
    Sunday 22 October 11.30am-2pm & 3pm-6pm
    Tuesday 24 October 3pm-7pm
    Wed 25 October 7pm- 9pm
    Friday 27 October 7pm- 9pm
    Saturday 28 October 11.30am-2pm & 3pm-6pm
    Sunday 29 October 11.30am-2pm & 3pm-6pm
    Thursday 2 November 6.30pm-9pm
    Friday 3 November 6.30pm-9pm
    Saturday 4 November 11.30am

    Free school visits by appointment October 30 – November 6

  4. Linda Granfield permalink
    October 15, 2023

    Tremendous vitality in these paintings.

    “Everybody Loves the Sunshine”–Madonna and child in the centre, the ‘Michelangelo’ fellows/sculptures on either side of the foreground–so much balance with a nod to art of the past.

    I’d love to be there to listen in on what a group of school children would chatter about as they view these paintings! Kids love details–they won’t want to leave the gallery!

  5. Cherub permalink
    October 15, 2023

    Liverpool Street and Mile End stations remind me of why I left London 20 years ago. I don’t think I could have coped with another 20 years.

  6. October 15, 2023

    What a breath-taking array of paintings! So much to admire here: Celestial colors, swirling
    compositions (I love how the artist directs our eye), incredible details, and narrative power. The term “melting pot” has rarely been given a better stage. Just LOOK through this series, once more, and take note of the vast variety of souls, all swirling together, interacting, churning, taking up space, making room for others, being human.

    I am thoroughly wowed by this artist. Thank you, GA, for the gift of creativity on an early Sunday
    morning in the Hudson Valley.

  7. Tanya Ambrose permalink
    October 15, 2023

    Magnificent work

  8. Robin permalink
    October 15, 2023

    Fascinating reinvigoration of 1930s social realism, with a sharp eye on the now. Reminds me of Ben Shahn and Jacob Lawrence, maybe mixed with some Daniel Celentano, all rethought for our present day. Superb!

  9. John Campbell permalink
    October 16, 2023

    I’ve looked at a lot of art over a lot of years and it’s great that I can still get a warm glow from something new to me. These are magnificent!

  10. October 17, 2023

    Thanks for all these comments. They really mean a lot. Linda I often use my own work in art workshops with children. I’ll be taking some groups to this exhibition. Their reactions are always fascinating, especially because they know the city. Their questions are wonderful and they give me much to think about.

    Cherub, I hear you. It’s not for everyone. The city is and has always been a heaven and a hell. You can’t have one without the other. You find your quiet places, and the anonymity is wonderful too, compared to some of the smaller rural places that I’ve lived in. I guess I find people endlessly fascinating, and I love the fact that cities bring us together. They make you respect difference, and understand it, for the most part. Of course there are exceptions and sometimes people respond in angry ways to depictions of a diverse city. But yes it’s a busy place sometimes and capturing that buzz is a challenge that intrigues me.

    Lynne, lovely words. To capture a soul and make it move someone as it moved me is a real challenge that I struggle with. That’s why my paintings take so make. To keep the energy of a street sketch alive through to the final finished canvas is a constant battle.

    Thank you Tanya.

    Robin, those are all my favourite painters. Each gives me so much to think on in the studio. Thank you for picking up on them all.

    John, thank you for those words. Celebrating and sharing our common humanity is exactly the reason I make this work.

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