EXHIBITIONS

CORRELATING EVENTS

CORRESPONDENCE ART & JOHN MCWILLIAMS
January 22 – March 5, 2016

The Halsey Institute kicks off the 2016 season with two exhibitions including work by Ray Johnson, Richard C., Bob Ray, and John McWilliams.

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CORRESPONDENCE ART: WORDS, OBJECTS, AND IMAGES BY RAY JOHNSON, RICHARD C., AND BOB RAY

This exhibition brings together the correspondence works of three prolific mail artists:  Ray Johnson, Richard C., and Bob Ray. Conceptual artist Ray Johnson (1927–1995) was a pioneer of mail art, utilizing an ever-evolving lexicon of graphic and textual elements in his work. He corresponded with global artists, writers, and thinkers, including Richard C. and Bob Ray. A selection of vintage “mail art correspondence” between Richard C., Ray Johnson, and Bob Ray forms the historical backdrop for this exhibition. The remainder of the exhibition consists of words, objects, and images sent to curator Mark Sloan from Richard C. and Bob Ray in the past year including a number of collaborative works between these two artists.

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JOHN MCWILLIAMS: PROPHECIES

Passage detail

Full moon hangs over the marsh. A strong wind from the southeast, clouds move across the moon’s face. Light is falling. Time has opened. Prophecies reside in everything. Windows to the future are everywhere.

John McWilliams’s work is inspired by life in the Lowcountry, where the issues of life and its transitions are poignantly felt within the landscape. The artist explores the organic shifts of both natural and imagined worlds. The repetition found in the iconic, straight lines of the wood is both graphic and expressive and reflects the cyclical nature of time and the reverberation found in life passages. This fundamental form of art-making has a timeless quality, as McWilliams notes, “At its best a woodcut is a distillation of an idea controlling the page that it sits on, an enigma.”

[+] LEARN MORE ABOUT THE JOHN MCWILLIAMS EXHIBITION

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CORRESPONDENCE ART GALLERY

 

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JOHN MCWILLIAMS: PROPHECIES GALLERY

 

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Correspondence Art:
Words, Objects, and Images By Ray Johnson, Richard C., and Bob Ray

ABOUT RAY JOHNSON

Ray Johnson was born in Detroit, MI in 1927 and was an influential figure in early Pop art and the development of correspondence art as a form. While in High School Johnson took classes at the Detroit Art Institute and spent one summer in a drawing program at Ox-Bow School in Saugatuck, Michigan. Johnson spent three years at Black Mountain College in North Carolina from 1945-48 studying under Joseph Albers and gaining exposure to the work of John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Willem de Kooning and other important figures during these seminal years for the progressive art college. In the 1950s Johnson was involved in the New York art scene, experimenting with early Pop, Happenings and Performance. Johnson also produced small collages that incorporated references to popular culture that he termed “moticos.” His experiments with sending art through the mail eventually led to the first meeting in 1968 of the New York Correspondence School. Johnson had his first one-man show in New York at the Willard Gallery in 1965 and in Grace Glueck’s review of the exhibition in the New York Times she dubbed him “New York’s most famous unknown artist.” In the late 1960s Johnson left New York City for Long Island and began living in an increasing reclusive way, maintaining connections through his mail art activities. He died in 1995 in Sag Harbor Long Island of an apparent suicide. He is the subject of the 2002 film biography How to Draw a Bunny, directed by John Walter. Ray Johnson’s works in this exhibition are all things he mailed to Richard C..

ABOUT RICHARD C.

Richard C. (a.k.a. Richard Craven or Richard Canard) is an artist and curator currently based in Carbondale, Illinois. He grew up in North Carolina and attended Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC as an undergraduate in the 1960s. The artist attended East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN for graduate school and for a time served as Associate Curator at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, NC. Richard C. became interested in Ray Johnson’s mail art in 1965 after seeing an article in the New York Times about his work and began a correspondence with Johnson. C. later organized an exhibition of Johnson’s work in 1976 for the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh titled “Correspondence: An Exhibition of the Letters of Ray Johnson.” The artist continues to actively participate in the practice of correspondence art, sending work to artists and enthusiasts around the world through the mail. All of Richard C.’s works in this exhibition were mailed to curator Mark Sloan here at the Halsey Institute.

ABOUT BOB RAY

Bob Ray, born just east of Kansas City, Missouri, works in a variety of media, from drawings, paintings, collage, and sculpture to correspondence and performance works. His aesthetic borrows heavily from the Dada and Fluxus movements, with a strong combination of word, gesture, and image. Since 1990, he has been very active in international correspondence art activities and projects in Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Egypt, Japan, United States, Bolivia, Spain, Hungary, Switzerland, and Latvia. He has had extended exchanges with some of the most significant correspondence artists in the world, including Ray Johnson, Richard C., Giorgio Cavalinni, and Torma Cauli. He is a 2015 recipient of the North Carolina Arts Fellowship. He currently lives on the island of Ocracoke off the coast of North Carolina. All works in this exhibition arrived by mail addressed to Mark Sloan.

 

John McWilliams:
Prophecies

ABOUT JOHN MCWILLIAMS

John McWilliams was born in 1941 and currently resides in McClellanville, SC. He received his BFA and MFA from Rhode Island School of Design and is Professor/Director Emeritus of Georgia State University Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design. McWilliams has received numerous awards, including the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in photography. McWilliams’s monograph Land of Deepest Shade was published by Aperture in 1989.

Community Partners 2015