Charles Ray

(born 1953)
Charles Ray Plank Piece I-II 1973 © Charles Ray

Biography

The American artist Charles Ray has worked with film, photography, sculpture and installations to explore the notion of representation and to fuse the surreal with reality. Born in Chicago, he studied at the University of Iowa before completing a Masters degree in 1979 at Rutgers University, New Jersey. His early work was heavily influenced by the work of Anthony Caro and other abstract sculptors. He then began to incorporate his own body in his work which led to parallels being drawn with the Body Art movement. More recently he has exploited the readymade alongside aspects of mass culture. In his work, Ray deliberately subverts traditional classification – “[I was] trying to make something that was so abstract it became real or so real it became abstract”.

Glossary terms

  • Works in which the actions of the artist constitute the art. It is generally based around a specific event which some artists document with film or photography. Artists have experimented with performance techniques throughout the twentieth century but the term is usually applied to works from the 1960s onwards.