An Artistic Eye: Luna Lee Ray

Exhibition at FRANK Gallery in downtown Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Exhibition at FRANK Gallery in downtown Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] recently visited the beautiful FRANK Gallery on bustling and charming Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The gallery space was stunning, with polished concrete floors, exposed brick walls and white, movable walls. I was surprised to find out that this gallery, which represents a talented and diverse group of artists, was run semi-collectively by artist members, because the gallery felt as though it spoke in one harmonious voice.

I realized it was the impeccable curation of this lovely space that made it so wonderful, and I had the pleasure of speaking with the talented head curator of FRANK Gallery, Luna Lee Ray. Luna is also a member artist exhibiting in the gallery. “For me, curating is a big puzzle, and I love puzzles,” she says. “I look for themes; I look for patterns; I look for rhythm and repetition. I look for a lot of the same things I look for in an individual piece of art. I see the whole space as an art installation.”

"Shelter" Mixed Media on Panel, Luna Lee Ray. Copyright © Luna Lee Ray. Used by permission of the artist.

“Shelter” Mixed Media on Panel, Luna Lee Ray. Copyright © Luna Lee Ray. Used by permission of the artist.

Luna said each space small and large space must be considered separately as well as how the gallery as a whole looks from the front door. “We have smaller feature shows, larger themed shows, general gallery space, and a ‘boutique’ area featuring jewelry and smaller works. These components all need to be put together in a way that is visually cohesive, flows from one end of the space to the other, and makes each individual work of art look as good as it can. A big puzzle!”

Luna Lee Ray was born in Queens, New York, and received her BFA from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon, majoring in printmaking with a focus on etching. She has lived and shown her work in Oregon, Hawaii, Arizona and New Mexico, and now resides in Chapel Hill.

Luna’s own beautiful artwork reflects her talent in capturing the eye and maintaining a pleasing flow. Her dreamlike mixed-media pieces are inspired by nature and extensively layered and textured. Each piece has depth and movement that holds the gaze and pulls it gently across the image. The viewer feels like they are finding secrets in her paint.

Promise, Mixed Media on Panel 24" x 36", Luna Lee Ray. Copyright © Luna Lee Ray. Used by permission of the artist.

Promise, Mixed Media on Panel 24″ x 36″, Luna Lee Ray. Copyright © Luna Lee Ray. Used by permission of the artist.

“All of my imagery is informed by my experience of the natural world,” Luna said. “I am an avid — obsessive — gardener and spend many hours intensely observing the forms and processes of nature. There I find a rich, symbolic language that helps convey not only my feelings of reverence and awe toward this beautiful world but also encompasses all my dreams, visions, memories and spiritual yearnings — all that is unseen and intangible yet so much of who we are.”

And interestingly, artistic talent runs in Luna’s family: She is the great-grand niece of the legendary photographer Man Ray!


Ora Sorensen (orasorensen.com) was born in New York but grew up overseas in such countries as Libya, Turkey, Iran, Holland and Thailand. Her paintings are collected worldwide and have been shown in numerous exhibitions.

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