Chris Ray
Chris Ray

Drawing #3
Interior Gate

Birdman Turtle Dance
Forged and welded steel

    The Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America, Inc., is proud to present an exhibition of the work of Chris Ray at the 2002 ABANA Conference. Serving as curator, Don Plummer of Plummer Design Works in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania has assembled an amazing collection of Ray's work.

    Christopher Ray (1937-2000), is remembered by many as a bright young Philadelphia sculptor who exploded on the art/sculptor scene in the early 1970's. Of particular note was his innovative "Mansect" series of sculptures which married man and insect into forms that were at first glance, whimsical, but always laced with a diabolical shadow. For a few brief years he enjoyed both financial success and public acclaim. But he began to see his art from a complicated and less commercially successful perspective. He felt his pieces should be specifically arranged in a single location as they all represented an important segment of a much larger composite work. He became reluctant to part with anything he made. And though his work remained absolutely brilliant to the very end, he enjoyed only occasional bouts of comfort and often hovered in poverty, deprivation and health-endangering hunger.

    Christopher Ray remained an enigma to the end, even to those who knew him best. It can be said without fear of contradiction that he was very intelligent, uncannily observant and creative beyond measurable dimension; all within an imagination that soared without boundaries. But there were dark forces, too. There were mood swings that took him to extraordinary heights of euphoria and black depths of depression. He could be kind and generous on Thursdays and diabolical and cruel on Mondays. But to his friends whom he respected, he was always honest, amusing and utterly delightful.

    In early May of 2000 Chris began to experience some stomach pains. For a week or two he attributed it to a bout of intestinal flu. By the end of the month, however, he could not eat or drink anything without violent reflux. It took a couple weeks before he could get into the Veterans Hospital in Philadelphia for a check-up. Chris was without any funds, had no medical insurance or primary physician. By then it was too late to stop the rampant stomach cancer that was devouring him.

  • For more information, visit http://www.chrisray.com


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