Thursday, August 26, 2010

MCCLUMP: being very small


“One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small..”1 When Alice was tiny she’d get along quite well with the works of Charles LeDray! His works in many ways are all about dimensions, small ones, but considerably more. New York based LeDray creates perfectly scaled objects from incredibly detailed clothing to a really wild range of ceramic vessels.

His most recent work in his survey show at the ICA in Boston is Throwing Shadows, 2008-10. This is, in many ways, an unbelievably complex work that features more than 3,000 vessels around 2” high made from black porcelain. The works are arranged on a large, rectangular, white surface enclosed in glass with multiple light sources casting overlapping shadows. As much as I tried it didn’t seem as if I could find any two alike! The details on these pots were obsessive to the point where he may need help…! The overall effect is very disconcerting as if one was 25’ tall looking down and in on a display of actual vessels.

Charles LeDray, Throwing Shadows (Detail), 2008-10, Courtesy of the artist and Sperone Westwater, New York.

He showed three other similarly sized works of these types of ceramics displayed on a stacked series of square glass shelves with steel supports, each about 3’ square standing a total of around 6 feet high, these though were in full color! One was Untitled, 2002, glazed Ceramics. Again each one looked unique among thousands. Here was a very wide range of shapes, round, elliptical, spotted, wavy, some with loops and handles, others with spikes. I saw a number that looked like miniatures of ones I am convinced I have seen and handled before! Once again his distinct skills for the creation of these was fantastic. I was consistently remarking, “How did he do that?”

Charles LeDray, Untitled, 2002, Sperone Westwater, New York.

LeDray’s skill and vision is by far not limited to the ceramic medium. He showed many other scaled down objects from furniture, to intricate structures, various multiple arrangements and lots of clothes. One of the primary pieces in the show was Men’s Suits, 2006-09, shown here for the first time in the U.S.A. In a separate gallery were three scaled tableaux of sections from second hand clothing stores, maybe at ¼ scale. We are looking down [again] into the store in two and the storeroom in one. We are seeing these from above the suspended ceilings; years of dust and grime are obvious on the top of the hanging tiles that could only be seen from this vantage point. Just one example of his unwavering eye for inclusion of details. Everything is scaled down, the racks, the hangers, light fixtures, tile flooring and the amazing clothes of course. In the storeroom there is a canvas cart full of jumbled and unfolded clothes just as one might see in the back of such a store.

Charles LeDray, MENS SUITS (installation view), 2009. Courtesy of the artist nd Sperone Westwater, New York. Photo: John Kennard.
LeDray’s work goes way beyond scale. One of the aspects of many contemporary works I have seen is just about scale such as wall size photographs that while massive have no substance other than their size. Charles LeDray scales his objects down but instills in them a communal meaning; an inherent quality that speaks to the obsession modern society has with possessions and the acquiring of more “Stuff.” One comes away thinking about what it means to have all the objects many of us have in our homes and questioning the need for so much.
1 White Rabbit, Grace Slick, 1965-66

WORKWORKWORKWORKWORK Charles LeDray, at the ICA – Boston till October 17th.

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