January 28, 2016

Correspondence Art: Words, Objects, and Images by Ray Johnson, Richard C., and Bob Ray, & John McWilliams: Prophecies

Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, School of the Arts at the College of Charleston

(1) Bob Ray, Keyhole #1, 2015. Mixed media collage, 6 inch diameter. Courtesy of the Halsey Institute. (2) John McWilliams, Haunted Hands, 2010. Woodcut printed on Awagami paper, 14 x 12 inches. Courtesy of the Halsey Institute.

Correspondence Art: Words, Objects, and Images by Ray Johnson, Richard C., and Bob Ray
Correspondence Art brings together the correspondence works of three prolific mail artists: Ray Johnson, Richard C., and Bob Ray. Conceptual artist Ray Johnson (1927–95) was a pioneer of mail art, utilizing an ever-evolving lexicon of graphic and textual elements in his work. He corresponded with global artists, writers, and thinkers, including Richard C. and Bob Ray. A selection of vintage mail art between Ray Johnson and Richard C. forms the historical backdrop for this exhibition. The remainder of the exhibition consists of words, objects, and images sent to curator Mark Sloan from Richard C. and Bob Ray in the past year including several collaborative works between these two artists. Correspondence art might be defined as an aesthetic or conceptual transaction exchanged through the postal service. It is not an art movement per se, but it can be said to be a genre.

An educational brochure is available in the gallery with information, history and background on correspondence art and the artists who have been influential in developing it as an art form.

Artist Bob Ray will be in residence at the Halsey Institute from January 22 through February 11, working with six area schools and the public on correspondence art projects. This residency and exhibitionare funded in part by the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

John McWilliams: Prophecies
John McWilliams: Prophecies work is inspired by life in the Lowcountry, where the issues of life and its transitions are poignantly felt within the landscape. The artist explores the organic shifts of both natural and imagined worlds. The repetition found in the iconic straight lines of the wood is both graphic and expressive and reflects the cyclical nature of time and the reverberation found in life passages. This fundamental form of artmaking, utilized throughout the ages, has a timeless quality and McWilliams notes, “At its best a woodcut is a distillation of an idea controlling the page that it sits on, an enigma.”


About the Halsey Institute
The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston provides a multidisciplinary laboratory for the production, presentation, interpretation, and dissemination of ideas by innovative visual artists from around the world. As a non-collecting museum, we create meaningful interactions between adventurous artists and diverse communities within a context that emphasizes the historical, social, and cultural importance of the art of our time.

For more information: contact the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art by calling T 843 953 HICA (4422) or visiting


The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art begins spring 2016 season with two exhibitions

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