The works of Charles Ray consistently sit at the intersections of the commercial, the human and the industrial, exploring our increasingly intertwined relationships with the imagery and machinery through which we engage with the world every day. Matthew Marks Gallery is currently showing three new works by renowned American sculptor Charles Ray, continuing the artist’s ongoing explorations of the human body and its interactions with the contemporary industrial world.
A Los Angeles native, Charles Ray is often cited as a major contributor a development of sculpture in the last 20 years. His post-Conceptual realism combines a meticulous and measured placement of each element, exploring both the essence of his materials and the interactions inherent in their presentation. Recalling Serra’s curved forms that relate to their surroundings, the classical forms also speak to a coming of age and an uncertainty.
Combining references to classic Greek sculpture with industrial processes and contemporary imagery, Ray has created three human figures from machined stainless steel: a nude figure, a homeless woman sleeping on a bench, and a self-portrait of the artist, nude, bent down to tie an unseen shoelace. Each piece weighs well over 1,000 pounds, with Sleeping Woman tipping in at 6,000 lbs alone.
Taking these contemporary human forms and bending them through a highly industrial process, Ray underlines our changing engagement with the art object and the human form.