L.A. Weekly review: Joe Ray "Complexion Constellation"

"Candy-colored plastics and a living car wash" by Catherine Wagley

July 26, 2017

A group of people in strange costumes mill around a parking lot, and you don’t know what’s going on until a VW bug rolls in and the costumed people, including the man in white foam, begin to rub it down with their bodies. They’re a living car wash, working in slow motion. Footage of this performance, staged by artist Joe Ray, plays in a side gallery at Diane Rosenstein. Across the hall hang black and white photographs of performances Ray and his peers did near Venice Beach in the 1970s, including their spoof of the macho artist stereotypes, in which they posed shirtless with a motorcycle. This performance documentation coexists with his smooth, perfect resin works — "Two Arcs and Half-Sphere" from 1969 looks like tri-colored candy — and Ray's 1980s paintings of constellations. The show thrills because it’s so materially diverse, reminding us in our hyper-professional moment that having one consistent “style” is not necessarily a virtue.