Reflecting a her life, which is both culturally Japanese and American, Mayuko Ono Gray’s graphite drawings hybridize influences from traditional Japanese calligraphy combined with Western drawing practices and aesthetics.
In Gray’s works, she mostly use images of persons, animals, and still-lives, captured in my daily experiences. She assign a matching Japanese proverb to go with the image, which is spelled out with hiragana and kanji characters intertwined to create a single line. The calligraphic line begins at the top right and ends toward the bottom left of the page, following traditional Asian writing. The single line going through a pictorial plane is a metaphor of a life; the continuation of our life which begins with the birth and entrance to physical body, one exit as death and loss of physical body, and all the complicated path we take in between.
More recent works of Gray often incorporate the image of bubbles. Bubbles represent energy. In the “pulsating still life” series, these are energy emitted by atoms which compose matter and form. Bubbles also represent our soul or spirit, which is invisible, yet we encompass along with our physical form. Mayuko Ono Gray creates at least one self-portrait a year to record the sign and progress of her physical decay. As she ages and her body continues to deteriorate, the more fascinated Gray is by, and want sto believe, the existence of the intangible- soul or spirit.