In the Garden of Moonlight
June 28, 2008
through July 26, 2008
NEW YORK, NY (June 3, 2008) — Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to present In The Garden of Moonlight, a solo exhibition featuring new works by Ray Caesar. The Toronto-based artist returns for his third solo show at the gallery, having created a new series of large-scale original pieces and limited edition multiples installed in ornately designed frames.
In The Garden of Moonlight is a collection of beautifully bizarre images, in which Caesar expands upon his signature style. A hauntingly captivating cast of doll-like figures are depicted with physical abnormalities, dressed in costumes from both the past and future, fashioned from deep within the artist’s own whimsical imagination. They appear in elaborate Rococo style interiors, peering at the observer with the innocence of a child, yet also possessing an underlying awareness of dark truths—their inner strength and courage seemingly in contrast with the fragility of their physical appearance. These characters are messengers, or spirit guides from another realm. Caesar offers them a window into ours, where he has created a safe place beyond the cruelty of humanity. They arrive carrying clues with them, layered in mystery and meaning, trusted only to eyes sensitive enough to witness.
Ray Caesar has said that he is often able to access his creative subconscious through time spent in a waking dream state, bringing back memories and bits of detail, which appear frequently in his artwork. An expert in his digital medium of choice, the artist uses Maya, a 3D modeling program, to create his figures and the virtual environments in which they exist. His meticulous process incorporates elements of drawing, painting, collage, sculpting, and more, to achieve his completely intricate digital world. He has compared working in this software to the experience of lucid dreaming, as in both situations, one has the ability to control and manipulate a simulated reality.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Working for 17 years in the Art and Photography Department of The Hospital For Sick Children in Toronto, Ray Caesar documented things such as child abuse, surgical reconstruction, psychology, and animal research. Coupled with inspiration from the dreamlike works of Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dali and Paul Cadmus, Ray’s experiences continue to linger and present themselves through his haunting, evocative scenes, which are all digitally created. Using a 3D modeling software called Maya, he builds models and wraps them in painted and manipulated texture maps. The models are set up with an invisible skeleton that allows him to pose each figure in a 3D environment. Digital lights and cameras are added to simulate shadows and reflections, completing the effect of a mysterious and strange alternate world.