Ray Turner: Population, Good Man/Bad Man

June 2011

Turner has spent the spring of 2011 painting dozens of individuals to represent the rich, diverse community of Long Beach, including elected officials, philanthropists, artists and a host of Long Beach citizens encountered in our everyday lives.

Turner has focused his career on the human face with the objective of creating a narrative between the viewer and the subject. Turner paints his subjects after carefully studying the multiple photographs he has taken with a concentration on their essence as opposed to their features. Rather than a photographic survey of Long Beach, Turner’s expressionistic portraits reveal the psychological drama and emotional fabric, intrinsic and specific to Long Beach.

The artist paints each portrait directly on glass with thick impasto brushstrokes that can only come from a trained eye and deft, experienced hands. The transparency of the glass creates a surface which reflects the viewer and the environment, while its materiality speaks to the inner fragility. Additionally, the shade of paint underneath each work becomes a defining characteristic of the work. The infinite combinations of location, population, and color add to the dynamics of the exhibition.

Flux plays an integral role in the conceptual underpinnings of Ray Turner’s work. As these works travel and are exhibited to nationwide audiences and locations, local residents are integrated into the body of work adding new layers to the growing “Population”. This exhibition will be accompanied by a full-color catalogue, which will include Turner’s latest portraits of Long Beach’s “Population”, as well as an essay about the artist’s work by art historian and exhibition co-curator Peter Frank.