About This Exhibition

“Our fascination with faces is primordial. A human infant searches for, recognizes, and responds to its mother’s visage hours after birth, with eyes that are yet unfocused. We instinctively and purposefully study the faces of those who are important in our lives for mood, emotion, health, and truth…Ray Turner’s Population series is as compelling in its whole as in its parts. The entire range of human countenance is subtly present, from stoned surfer dude to ancient pugilist, from flirty girl to beatific matron. The depth of each portrait warrants contemplation–there is amusement behind the suspicious gaze, elegance that masks confusion, uncertainty shadowing serenity. It is many individual stories, it is a history of a population.”

—Susan Warner, director of the Museum of Glass

This summer, the museum features the nationally touring exhibition Ray Turner: Population, a unique assembly of faces that yield a fascinating composite portrait. The show is the latest body of work by the California-based painter Ray Turner.

The series presents one-foot by one-foot squares of faces lushly painted on glass. These are clustered in grids or lined up in a forced match of square abutting square. The background color is painted on the wall, not the back of the glass—and this feature deepens the color and luster of the images.

Turner turned to portraiture as a vein of artmaking in 2007. His initial subjects were his family, friends, and acquaintances—the network of people who populate his life. He continues with the series over the course of this touring exhibition, generating a snowball compounding effect. At each museum, Turner incorporates new paintings that depict local community members. He inspired the Wichita Art Museum to include a broad spectrum–city leaders and art types, naturally, and also high-school kids, social advocates, and regular folk. Collectively, the additive process of the Population series builds and reflects America’s diversity today. In fact, the ongoing accumulation adds conceptual depth as well as poetry to the experience viewing these compelling paintings.

Turner lives in Pasadena where he received his BFA from the Art Center College of Design in 1985. He was on the Center faculty for 13 years as professor of painting and drawing. Now, he devotes himself to his art and exhibits nationally.

Portrait of the young boy with light colored hair and a dark collared shirt

Ray Turner, Young Boy on Pale Rose (Nicholas), 2018. Oil on glass, 12 x 12 inches. Collection of the artist.

Exhibition Sponsors

Ray Turner: Population is organized and traveled by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions, Pasadena, California.

Support for the Wichita presentation has been provided by TCK—The Trust Company of Kansas.

All museum exhibitions receive sponsorship from the Friends of the Wichita Art Museum Endowment Fund and the City of Wichita.