New York

Gray Foy, Untitled (Illuminated Exterior with Morphing Dancers), ca. 1946, graphite on paper, 13 1⁄4 × 10 1⁄2".

Gray Foy, Untitled (Illuminated Exterior with Morphing Dancers), ca. 1946, graphite on paper, 13 1⁄4 × 10 1⁄2".

Gray Foy

Francis M. Naumann Fine Art

Gray Foy, Untitled (Illuminated Exterior with Morphing Dancers), ca. 1946, graphite on paper, 13 1⁄4 × 10 1⁄2".

Gray Foy (1922–2012) didn’t require the aid of a magnifying glass to produce his intricate drawings—exquisite, Surrealist-inflected pieces made between 1941 and 1975—but they were handily on offer during the artist’s first major survey at Francis M. Naumann Fine Art. In a charming throwback to old-fashioned modes of sustained attention, delectation, and connoisseurship, visitors were encouraged to pore over his scrupulously rendered botanical and biomorphic images, many on view for the first time in fifty years. Yet even as they seemed to dwell in some etiolated genteel past, these works raised concerns—about identity, ecology, and materiality—that felt unresolved and utterly contemporary.

Exempted from military service due to severe asthma, Foy worked as a shipping expediter at a defense plant in Burbank, California, during World War II, drawing in his spare

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