Building Wide opening reception tonight, Friday Feb. 16 from 6-8pm! Upcoming exhibitions in March: Jill Wilkinson's PINE and Spencer Fidler's VASCULUM.


Michael Ray Charles was born in 1967 in Lafayette, Louisiana, and graduated from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in 1985. In college, he studied advertising design and illustration, eventually moving into painting, his preferred medium. Charles also received an MFA degree from the University of Houston in 1993. His graphically styled paintings investigate racial stereotypes drawn from a history of American advertising, product packaging, billboards, radio jingles, and television commercials. Charles draws comparisons between Sambo, Mammy, and minstrel images of an earlier era and contemporary mass-media portrayals of black youths, celebrities, and athletes—images he sees as a constant in the American subconscious. “Stereotypes have evolved,” he notes. “I’m trying to deal with present and past stereotypes in the context of today’s society.”

He lectures and exhibits nationally and internationally, and his work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in New York City, Germany, Paris, Belgium, Spain, Norway, Miami, and Santa Fe. His work is documented in many books, magazines and news papers as well as an extensive number public and private collection around the world including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, San Antonio Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and the Austin Museum of Art.  Charles lives in Houston, Texas and teaches at the University of Houston.

4 Artworks