It’s hard to call Larry Gray’s paintings landscapes. They are really skies. Luminous, misty, sfumato atmospheres all translucent color, with just the hint of a horizon line running along the bottom of the canvas to help us relate the swirling Turneresque effects to something in the natural world.
Gray is a superb colorist celebrating nature in the tradition of the Hudson River School. Paintings here focus on the conflict between industry and wilderness as seen metaphorically in burning towns and war-scarred landscapes. In these pictures, more than in the past, the smoke from ruined cities huddled in the mud rises to color and thicken the sky’s clear vastness into an almost tangible membrane. There is an overwhelming sense of awe to these images, both in the enormity of the sky and in the potency of the man-made impact. Like sunsets made vibrant by polluted air, there is a delicate dichotomy in appreciating their beauty--a sense of their fatal magnificence. (Karl Bornstein Gallery, 1658 1/2 10th St., to April 15.)