Light from the Left


Cast fiberglass, stainless steel, aluminium, acrylic polyurethane

215 x 268 x 8 cm (84 5/8 x 105 1/2 x 3 1/8 in.)

Light From the Left is a life-size bas-relief of a man in profile holding a bouquet of flowers out to a barefoot woman in a dress seen frontally on a neutral background. The features are those of the artist and his wife, probably depicted in the privacy of their home.

The scene’s almost naive simplicity is matched by a perfect command of composition and space. The floral motif is exactly in the centre and a complex flattening technique gives both figures body and relief. The solemn eloquence of their gestures and poses evokes both the hieratic nature of Egyptian or Assyrian stelae and the classicism of Poussin or David. As this work shows, American sculptor Charles Ray can combine naturalism and stylisation, solids and voids, presence and absence in the same composition.

Light From the Left was presented for the first time by the Pinault Collection at the 2009 "Mapping the Studio" show at the Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana in Venice.