Day 108: Thursday, July 7 - Ray Turner!!

Ray Turner is a local Pasadena artist who trained at Art Center.  To say that he is a portrait artist diminishes his work!  He paints faces on plate glass, about 1/2" thick, probably 14 inches square. The backside of the glass is painted with a very specific solid color and the frontside of the glass is heavily impastoed with oil paint..........incredible portraits.  Occasionally you notice that he has scraped through the paint of the face to reveal the color on the backside of the glass.  Because of the glass, the works just glow. Sometimes your face is even reflected onto the glass - you're conversing with the portrait.

He had a fabulous exhibit about a year ago at the Pasadena Museum of California Art........Pasadena was abuzz about the show and I actually went twice it was so incredible.

Today I made it to the Long Beach Museum of Art, about 45 minutes away to see Ray's latest show: Good Man Bad Man.  There were probably 200 "normal" portraits mounted in order of their background colors, normal being recognizable faces. It was kind of like being in the Denver airport tunnel where the neon lights change color very slowly - so did the backpainting on the portraits.

Then the next room had the Bad Men.  Made up faces, just enough features so that you knew there was a person in there.....but more gestural. You knew it was a mad person, a mean the suggestion of the features.  The one below was even partly done with a paint roller from a look at the texture of the white paint.

For this exhibit, he spent the Spring of 2011 painting people from Long Beach: elected officials, docents from the museum, an electrician from the restaurant next door.......people at the show today were identifying people they knew on the large wall of portraits.

Paintings by Ray Turner

Above are two "reals" and two "bads".  I think they're phenomenal!!  The show runs through September 11. The Museum opens at 11 most days but do check before driving there. There's a Museum restaurant next door, open or closed is on the bluffs above the harbor where the Queen Mary is "parked". A wonderful day. Go.

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