During the 2020 pandemic, Ricardo Brey, unable to leave his home and studio in Ghent, Belgium, turned to the color blue, which he associated with the sky and sea, symbols of freedom and an unattainable expansiveness. In works from this period, Brey adopts an almost exclusively blue palette, a significant departure from the earth-colored ochers and rusty reds of previous works on paper. Trumpet Roots (2021) is part of a group of recent works on paper by Brey inspired by botanical illustrations. Delicately rendering the organic forms in pencil, Brey uses blue gouache to create a vivid watercolor effect, allowing parts of the plants’ silhouettes to remain unpainted. Nature has always occupied a vital locus in Brey’s life. At once grounding his practice and inspiring his philosophies, the influence of the natural world can be seen across Brey’s works. “Nature, and life in general, is quite resilient,” Brey maintains. “No matter how hard you try, a weed will always come back—it is their essence to hold their ground, to stand up, to survive.”
2021: Blue Shore, Alexander Gray Associates, New York, NY
Mpoma, Annie Wetsi, Hannah Iterbeke, Koen Leemans, and Peter Verhelst. Ricardo Brey: Gap in the Clouds. Luc Derycke, Femke Vandenbosch, and Isabel Brey eds. Exh. cat. Ghent: MER. Imprint of Borgerhoff & Lamberigts, 2022, p. 35.