For more than 20 years, New York-based artist Charles LeDray has created handmade sculptures in stitched fabric, carved bone, and wheel-thrown clay. LeDray painstakingly fashions smaller-than-life formal suits, embroidered patches, ties, and hats, as well as scaled-down chests of drawers, doors, thousands of unique, thimble-size vessels, and even complex models of the solar system.
The midcareer survey CHARLES LEDRAY: workworkworkworkwork gathers together some 50 sculptures and installations, from seminal early works to the first U.S. presentation of MENS SUITS (2006–09), LeDray's acclaimed project presenting three complex, small-scale vignettes of secondhand clothing shops. The extraordinary ceramic display Throwing Shadows (2008–10) includes more than 3,000 unique small black porcelain pots, each less than 2 inches tall.
In an era of high-tech production, LeDray remains committed to a painstaking manual process, creating intimate sculptures and installations that mine the memories of childhood and the ways in which people choose to construct their identities. At the same time, LeDray brings an astute eye to the history of art, testing the traditional boundaries that have defined what is sculpture and what is craft. Writing for the Boston Globe, Sebastian Smee extolled: “LeDray has a poet’s ability to concentrate and lift the imagination. His work registers loneliness and futility, yes, but also togetherness, renewal, and all the endless idiosyncrasies of life.”