Ray Caesar's paintings intrigue me in a way few artists do. You can consider them fantasy portrayals of beautiful, delicate youthful women, but if you look close enough you'll see that characters are not exactly what they seem to be. They are dark, sometimes cruel, they live at the limit between real and fantastic, subconscious life.
Born in London, on 26 October 1958, Ray's first attempt to draw didn't impress his parents, as he admits "Unfortunately the drawing continued to become somewhat atypical and aberrant. (...)I was consoled however by the encouragement to continue penciling in faces of flamboyant cowboys such as Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger and Tonto on my toenails but was expressly forbidden to talk to them at night".
And the struggling continued in art colleges, in jobs designing buildings, in architectural studios, medical art facilities, digital service bureaus and many more. He did sculpture, but eventually he focused on paintings, creating most of them with ultra chrome on paper or on panel. His characters remind us of Victorian age which Ray considers it as being "his time".
Why are his characters all women? Caesar believes the feminine side of humans is more valuable than the masculine side. And he just likes drawing dresses, so he puts them all in dresses.
Like his works? Go see them from May 1 till August 22nd at The Art from The New World exhibition, hosted by Corey Helford Gallery in collaboration with Bristol's City Museum and Art Gallery.