Ray Turner

(Stockton, California, 1958 - )

North America, American

Ray Turner has lived in Pasadena since 1982, when he began working on his BFA at the Art Center College of Design. He began teaching at the Art Center soon after graduating, a career that lasted 12 years. While in school, Turner worked as a gardener for an elderly man name Joe Beghetti in exchange for room and board. For the next two years, Turner sketched Joe nearly every day, a project that Turner credits with teaching him how to draw the figure. Although Turner subsequently became known for moody, romantic landscapes that reflect on the sublime in nature, in recent years he has returned to the human face as subject.

Turner began his ongoing series of portraits, Population, in 2007. The series reflects Turner’s interest in exploring identity and community. For each new stage of the series, Turner travels to the institutions slated to host the exhibition and photographs local residents and then returns to California to paint portraits—all executed on 12-by-12-inch glass squares—from the photographs. Turner believes this distance allows him to be more objective than if he were painting from life. States the artist, “I’m more interested, first and foremost, in the connection I feel with a person I paint as a color-and-figure-ground relationship, then am pleasantly surprised each time I feel the soulful connection to him or her as a friend.” Turner’s lush use of color and expressive painting style create drama and imbue character in his subjects while also revealing his love for the material properties of paint on a slippery glass surface.

Turner’s work has been shown throughout the United States and in Montreal and Berlin. His work is in such public collections as the Long Beach Museum of Art, California; the Markley Group in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Akron Art Museum, Ohio.

Lives Pasadena, California

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