written by Eddie Arroyo
It is a rare thing to contemplate the weight of art in Miami, not simply by what is produced in this city but what is being presented. After seeing a number of different exhibitions over the years most of the work becomes a variation of one or another which melds into a singular theme. However there is that moment when a shift is felt and subsequently resonate on a different level. This occurred with the Charles Ledray exhibition at the Bass Museum of Art. I had come to witness the work on a late hour considering the time it opened, much to my surprise and embarrassment. Subsequently it was an underwhelming introduction to his work having known nothing of the artist but concluded with a fresh point of view.
Ledray’s exhibition was lit very low and first piece to greet me was a sculpture of a wheat leave encased in glass. It was painstakingly crafted with human bone as a medium. The processes was a curious thing however a number of artists go through extreme labor to produce work and this was simply another example of such an endeavor. I was presented by two other of his pieces which was a silhouette of jewelry displays and another human bone sculpture of a Chinese Cricket Cage. There was a palatable sensitivity to the work, unsure whether this was due to the specific use of space or the opaque lighting. It did serve as a wonderful opening to the final two pieces of Ledary’s exhibit.
The oddity of what stood before me was comical on the surface. It was a vignette of a department/ thrift store. This was aided by the room it occupied because its large scale made the miniature installations more meek and precious. Dr. Adrienne von Lates who is Director of Education for the Bass Museum informed me that every object in the installation was handcrafted in true Trompe l’oeil spirit. However the goal was not simply to fool the eye or even perceptions of consumerism. There is something unexplainable and metaphysical in the presentation of LeDray’s tiny suits which carry a poetic narrative. He did not receive conventional artistic training and began his career as a security guard at the Seattle Art Museum. It is this objective voyeurism that is prevalent in his work, to see an item for what it is and to truly appreciate its nature.
Dear readers I highly recommend you take the time to see this exhibition.