Ray Donley

I choose to use such imagery and technique as a point of departure for exploring a world that is idiosyncratic, personal, and capable of transcending time and place. And whereas much of the portraiture of the Renaissance and Baroque sought to reveal something of the state of mind of the subject, there is an aspect of my work that seeks to turn this idea around by presenting a kind of imagery that, instead, reveals something about the state of mind of the viewer.

Available
  • Baroque Portrait No. 83, 20 x 16"
  • Baroque Portrait No. 82, 14 x 11"
  • Figure with White Roses, 20 x 16"
  • Another Dream of Decadence, 20 x 16"
  • Pierrot with Hat 24 x 24"
  • The Sorcerer (No. 14), 20 x 16"
  • SOLD The Sorcerer (No. 12) oil 24x18
  • A strange Enough Ending, oil, 20x16
  • Untitled (A Theorist of Quantum Gravity), 24x24, oil

Ray Donley

From: Austin, Texas | Medium: Oil on canvas and panel

Ray Donley’s dramatic figurative style – full of high-contrast lighting – evokes the Dutch and Spanish Old Masters, particularly the 17th century portraitists, quite deliberately – that was the work that interested him as a young man. 14th and 15th century painters were “too Apollonian to me, too statue-like – but by the 17th century the painters looked like they were having fun, they were slapping the paint around.”

He sought to emulate that when he became a studio art major at the University of Texas. Not finding an instructor willing to help him develop that style, he switched to art history and began to school himself. Donley calls himself “something of an autodidact;” he learned how to paint like an Old Master by immersing himself in the works of Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Velázquez and Frans Hals, and absorbing everything he could about their artistry. “My change to art history opened up so many doors aesthetically that I was able to see and refine what I really wanted to do,” Donley says. “I wanted to know the history of painting, the sociology, the phenomenology, the craft of painting, the fact of painting – I wanted to learn and master all of that.”

Ray Donley

Artist Statement

“I choose to use such imagery and technique as a point of departure for exploring a world that is idiosyncratic, personal, and capable of transcending time and place. And whereas much of the portraiture of the Renaissance and Baroque sought to reveal something of the state of mind of the subject, there is an aspect of my work that seeks to turn this idea around by presenting a kind of imagery that, instead, reveals something about the state of mind of the viewer.”

 

Awards

First Prize, 3° Concorso Biennale Internazionale di Pittura, San Remo, Italy, 2002

Collection & Exhibits

Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, Illinois, 2009
Boston International Fine Art Show, Boston, 2008
17th Annual American Fine Art Show, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2008

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