PASADENA, CA.- The Pasadena Museum of California Art
(PMCA) presents Population: Portraits by Ray Turner, an exhibition of portraits by artist Ray Turner. Featuring approximately 150 paintings, each portrait in the series evinces a slightly different approach by the artist. A prescient interpreter, Turner fashions a uniquely seductive and engaging fusion of lyrical realism and abstraction in his work. He is able to capture his sitters during “privileged instants” with skill and intimacy.
Although each painting is distinctive, Turner’s format in Population remains consistent and can be read as variations on a theme. Beginning with a square piece of glass, Turner paints the backgrounds a single color on the reverse side of the glass, turning the picture space into a shiny, flat monotone. The background colors he uses from painting to painting are tonal variations on a few colors, from pale pink to vibrant fuchsia, as well as shades of blues and grays, much like paint swatches. Then on the front of the glass, his masterful application of paint renders an individual’s face with all its particular quirks, occasionally simplifying details through expressionistic strokes, but all the while maintaining the essence of his sitter’s unique features.
Born in California in 1958, Turner attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena where he ultimately taught. Turner has progressively crafted a versatile and acclaimed body of work of growing scope and importance. His work was included in Angels at the Riverside Art Museum, and has been featured in other museum exhibitions and public collections throughout the Southland. In addition, he has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions in galleries nationally. After its run at the PMCA, Population will travel to the Toomey-Tourell Gallery in San Francisco. The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color hardcover book with essays by Rick Gilberts, James Scarborough, and Roberta Carasso, PhD.
These portraits, each measuring about 12 x 12 inches, will be displayed in the PMCA Founders’ Gallery, a 2000 square foot space on the third floor of the museum. When viewed en masse, the vast range of human physiognomy and the diverse painting techniques combine to form a singular installation in which the whole enhances the sum of its parts.