Tag Archives: charles ray

Modern Art Monday Presents: Charles Ray, Tractor

charles ray tractor photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

Charles Ray’s sculptures are often loosely patterned on pre-existing ideas and things. Such is the case with Tractor (2005), which takes as its point of departure a boyhood memory and, more directly, an abandoned vintage tractor found in the San Fernando Valley, California.

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Modern Art Monday Presents: Charles Ray, Archangel

charles ray archangel photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

Charles Ray’s Archangel (2021) was conceived for an exhibition in Paris. Shocked by terrorist attacks like the one that occurred in the offices of Charlie Hebdo in 2015, Ray envisioned the archangel Gabriel, a guardian figure in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, alighting onto unstable ground.

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Modern Art Monday Presents: Boy By Charles Ray

Boy By Charles Ray
All Photos By Gail

Having been employed as a department store janitor during his freshman year of college, Charles Ray (b. 1953) understands the unease that a mannequin — an inanimate object that one might readily mistake for a live human — can inspire.  Ray’s work is also charged with purely sculptural tensions that exist between surface and interior, armature and appendage and / or size and scale. With Boy (1992), Ray created a particularly disquieting figure.

Boy With Guard
Museum Guard With Sense of Humor Poses With Boy

The sculpture stands just shy of six feet tall, the artist’s exact height, yet maintains the softness of youth in its rounded cheeks and limbs. The boy is clad in outdated garments, hovering ‘between baby and Hitler youth,” in the words of one critic. Additionally, the boy’s pose and gesture suggest a confrontational manner at odds with his neutral expression.Boy By Charles Ray

Photographed at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Pink Thing of The Day: Charles Ray’s Fall ’91

Charles Ray Fall 91
Photo By Gail

Many of Charles Ray’s best-known works are remakes of objects and people taken from the real world. Small but significant alterations to familiar situations give Ray’s practice a disquieting tension. Cloaked in simplicity, his often humorous creations comment on sculpture’s history, from its austere formal issues to its surreal psychological consequences. Ray imbues the tenets of classical sculpture, such as beauty, proportion, and facture, with a sly drama by inserting slippages, imperfections, or over–perfections in the physical makeup of his works. Fall ’91 (1992) depicts a woman  standing with her weight mostly on one foot in a common contrapposto pose. Modeled on a mannequin scaled to 8 feet tall, the sculpture looms large in a pink power suit that was fashionable in the fall of 1991. The result is both physically and psychologically daunting.

Photographed in The Broad Museum in Downtown Los Angeles.