Todd V. Wolfson

Best Artist Who Puts Black and White in Color

Michael Ray Charles

Most of us shy away from talking about race. Not Michael Ray Charles. This Austin artist discusses it all the time, through his work. For years his striking, provocative images drawn from dated stereotypes of blacks – Sambos, Mammies, Uncle Toms – have been asking us tough questions we might otherwise avoid: How have blacks in America been defined by whites? What do those definitions say about our society? Are those definitions changing? Yet even as these images challenge us, they offer a visual richness of texture, style, and hue – all of which has earned Charles international acclaim. "The Property of ...," his 2003 show at D Berman Gallery, may have seen a shift in approach (from 2-D art to installations), but the subject remained the same: race in American culture. And for that we are fortunate.

23rd & San Jacinto

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