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From Critic, Jason Farago
Large sculpture on white pedestal of a mountain lion that is hunched over with its muscles flexed...
Charles Ray, Mountain lion attacking dog, 2018. Sterling silver, 25 1/2 x 77 1/4 x 29 inches (64.8 x 196.2 x 73.7 cm). © Charles Ray; Courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery.

New York Times review of Charles Ray and the Hill Collection. January 2, 2020.

In the Swim of Digital Images, There’s Nothing Boring About Sculpture

Bronze statuette works grew in refinement and finish later in the Renaissance and into the Baroque era. The financier and art collector J. Tomilson Hill, whose collection of bronzes went on view at the Frick in 2014, now exhibits his cache of statuettes in an airy, white-walled space in Chelsea — alongside works of contemporary art. Right now at the Hill Art Foundation you can see five Renaissance bronzes alongside the sculpture of Charles Ray, the deep-thinking and slow-working Los Angeles sculptor who has rethought the classical tradition for our age as profoundly as Bertoldo did for his.

For Mr. Ray, sculptural invention takes the form of an excessive perfectionism, in which new scanning and casting technologies permit thrillingly off-key riffs on ancient forebears. In the low-slung sterling silver sculpture “Mountain Lion Attacking a Dog” (2018), for example, the artist embodies a predator sinking its teeth into the flesh of its upturned prey, updating the Greek and Roman taste for group sculptures of animals to today’s Hollywood Hills. (This work’s most evident art historical precedent is the marble sculpture “Lion Attacking a Horse,” at the Capitoline Museum in Rome — a favorite of Bertoldo’s disciple Michelangelo.)

The lion’s painstakingly chased fur recalls the contrasts of clean and striated bronze in Bertoldo’s “Orpheus,” though now the technology at hand is different. For Bertoldo, the intermediate step between the initial figure and the metal cast was a layer of wax. For Mr. Ray, it is 3-D scanning and CNC machining: highly precise technologies that translate objects into data that can be output to a robotic mill.

Full review available here.

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