Ray Mack

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Ray  Mack

Ray Mack

Ray Mack Statement

Mack’s figurative oil paintings harness conventional, erudite practices and themes present in the larger western canon to point a questioning finger at the social systems that spawned them. Fundament, with its dual definition of “foundation” and “buttocks,” describes this collection aptly: Influenced by the form and content of classic tropes from American history paintings and nostalgic images of Americana, Mack’s paintings re-imagine familiar scenes to reveal the nightmares hidden just beneath the surface, our country’s unseemly bedrock of internalized gender hierarchies.  

Mack’s work combines a low-brow sense of humor and style with oil painting technique, compositional eye, and art historical references of a well trained and highly skilled artist. The paintings range in context, directly challenging gendered dynamics in iconic images throughout art history, from Charles Willson Peale’s “The Artist in His Museum” (1822) to Alfred Eisenstaedt’s “V-J Day in Times Square” (1945) to Norman Rockwell’s “From Concord to Tranquility” (1973).

Drawing on art historical references and formal strategies, reworking the male-dominated canon through her humorous and distinctly situated gaze. The unsettling combination of conventional, erudite practice and crude, lowbrow gesture highlights themes present in a male-dominated art history, and our oversexed, under-stimulated popular culture, which ultimately serves to tickle the armpits of the stodgy old men who made them, and shake loose the tragicomedy that we find when we look at our own societally induced sentimentality. The viewer is left intellectually and emotionally piqued, uncertain whether to giggle or weep.

In the months since Donald Trump’s occupancy of the White House, Mack’s work has shifted. Subjects that seemed too on-the-nose or obvious in the past are now appropriate -- perhaps even vital -- to address head-on, with sincerity. This is an unsettling time in America, and Mack’s work offers clear reminders of what it means to have fought for and secured the rights and freedoms we all deserve.

Included in the exhibition are a series of works that borrow scenes directly from specific Rockwell paintings. In Mack’s hands, the formerly “neutral” scenes are malformed, ghostlike versions of themselves, haunted with gaping mouths, sagging limbs and flaccid phalluses. The implicit neutrality in Rockwell’s images, Mack reminds us, is based purely on the fact that they are ubiquitous. This effect reflects some of the contemporary blind spots Americans face in addressing issues of discrimination. In one work, Mack depicts a scenario of two female roommates intimately huddled together looking at a magazine; Mack’s image responds directly to Rockwell’s reductive Saturday Evening Post cover of wide-eyed damsels from the 1940s by reflecting a more emotionally realistic version of two adult women sharing space and interest.

Mack’s Betsy Ross series places the woman as the focal centerpiece, responding to the virtual absence of historically significant women in American history paintings. Mack intentionally redirects the focus to Ross to highlight the gendered mythology of her role.

Through thoughtful subversion of familiar images, Mack’s work unflinchingly reminds us that now is the time to reexamine “normal.”

Ray Mack Resumé

EDUCATION
2012   
MFA, Painting, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco CA

2006   
BA, Studio Arts, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson NY

 

Solo Exhibitions
2016   
Thinking of You, Minnesota Street Project (Bass and Reiner Gallery) San Francisco CA

What he said, Punch Gallery, Seattle WA

2013   
Replicant Presents Ray Mack, The Lab, San Francisco CA

2012   
Public Patron Painting Party Project, Ellensburg WA

Ray Mack Leaves The House, Bay Area 51, San Francisco CA

2006
Bring a Lamp, it’s Dark Outside, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson NY

 

Group Exhibitions
2017   
28 Day Cycle, Studio 110 Projects, San Francisco, CA

Every Damn Day, Totally Rad Gallery, Berkeley, CA

2016   
Wish You Could Have Seen This, San Francisco Civic Center, San Francisco CA

American Painting Today, V2, Seattle WA

Punch Out, Punch Gallery, Seattle WA

2015
Seattle Art Fair, Seattle WA

New Members Exhibition, Punch Gallery, Seattle WA

Westward Bound: PUNCH Gallery meets Clymer, Clymer Museum, Ellensburg WA

2014   
Shades of Impact, Worth-Ryder Gallery, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley CA

2013   
SF Artists in a Suitcase, The Zimmer Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel

Currency, The Old Mint, San Francisco CA

Our Art Show, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco CA

See You Next Tuesday, Autzen, AB Lobby, & MK Galleries, Portland State University, Portland, OR

C.U.N.T., Rocks Box Contemporary Fine Art, Portland, OR

2012   
CELLSpace, San Francisco CA

Bad Drawing, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco CA

Haunted House, S.H.E.D. Projects, Oakland CA

2011   
Hanging Out with a Purpose, The Northern, Olympia WA

2010   
All the Answers You Gave Me were Wrong, Alley Cat Gallery, Ellensburg WA

2009   
53rd Annual Central Washington Juried Artist’s Exhibition, Larson Gallery, Yakima, WA

The Art Olympics, Bay Area 51, San Francisco, CA

Annual Juried Show, Gallery One Visual Arts Center, Ellensburg WA

2006 
This Comfortable Virtual Life, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson NY

Hurricane Katrina Benefit Show, Hudson Valley Arts Center, Hudson NY

           

ARTIST RESIDENCIES
2009   
New Other Other World Residency, Bay Area 51, San Francisco CA

2008 & 2007  
Artist-in-Residence, Gallery One Visual Arts Center, Ellensburg WA

               

PUBLICATIONS AND PRESS

2017   
Joyce Brown, “Artist Ray Mack paints new versions of male-dominated iconic works,”

7Q Interviews, http://www.7qinterviews.com/interviews/ray-mack

2016
Matthew Kangas, “American Painting Today,” Visual Art Source,

http://www.visualartsource.com/index.php?page=editorial&pcID=17&aID=3729

Jos Truitt, “Painter Ray Mack Shoplifts from the Dudes of Art History,” feministing.com, http://feministing.com/2016/05/03/painter-ray-mack-shoplifts-from-the-dudes-of-art-history/

Kimberly Chun, “Local Artists take a look at American identity” sfgate.com, http://www.sfgate.com/art/article/Local-artists-take-a-look-at-American-identity-7554642.phph

Adam Brinklow, “Arts Commission Building Flashes Morse Code Messages from Ex-San Francisco Artists,” sf.curbed.com,

http://sf.curbed.com/2016/6/6/11871034/displaced-artists-morse-code

John Metcalfe, “A San Francisco Building Sends Out Coded Messages About Displacement,” CITYLAB.com,

http://www.citylab.com/design/2016/06/san-fancisco-housing-artists-wish-you-could-have-seen-this-ma-li/485690/?utm_source=fbia

2013
C.U.N.T. Exhibition Catalogue, Rocksbox Contemporary Fine Art, Portland, CA

Currency Exhibition Catalogue, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA

David M. Roth “‘Currency’- SFAI’s MFA Show @ The Old Mint,” SquareCylinder.com

2012   
Bite, Cul, Nichons Et Chatte, Editions Ripopee, Nyon, Switzerland

Salt Hill Issue 29, Syracuse, NY

Lauren Smith, “Emerging Artists,” 2opCollec(tive),

http://2opcollective.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/ray-mack/

2009   
Tara Jepson, “Bay Area 51,” SF Weekly, San Francisco, CA

http://www.sfweekly.com/sanfrancisco/bay-area-51/Content?oid=2171915

2006   
Bard Papers, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

 

LECTURES

2017   
Artist Talk, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA

2016   
Artist Talk, Minnesota Street Project, San Francisco, CA

2013   
Artist Talk, DISCLOSE, San Francisco CA

 

PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES
2015   
Artist Trust EDGE Professional Development Program, Port Townsend, WA

2013   
Actor and Set Assistant, Happy Birthday, Mike Kuchar Production, San Francisco, CA

Actor and Set Assistant, Starbound, Mike Kuchar Production, San Francisco CA

2011   
Art Department and Actor, Mindglow, Eric Svedas and Sam Wohl Production, San Francisco, CA

2009-11          
Founding Board Member, Program Management, Instructor; Alley Cat Artists, Ellensburg, WA

2008                    
Education Volunteer, Harlem Studio Museum, Manhattan NY

2002-09          
Acting Program Coordinator, Program Assistant, Assistant grant writer; Gallery One Visual Arts Center, Ellensburg WA

2005               
Intern, Tacoma Economic Development Department, Tacoma, WA

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