SOFT SCULPTURE SURVEY: CHARLES LEDRAY / by Britt Howard

Charles LeDray's installation work, MENS SUITS (2006-2009)

Charles LeDray's installation work, MENS SUITS (2006-2009)

It takes a moment to comprehend and absorb the fascinating work of artist Charles LeDray. His piece MENS SUITS (2006–2009) consists of three installations filled with handmade miniatures of men's clothing and the makings of a thrift shop. One of the sections appears to be the basement of the thrift shop, empty hangers, bins and laundry bags of clothing wait to be sorted and displayed. LeDray, ever the detail-oriented maker, has even placed dust on the ceiling to conjure that musty atmosphere. In another section, LeDray presents the thrift store display—two round garment racks, one of men's suit jackets, the other button up shirts, and a messy table piled with clothing. LeDray's work is a marvel of craftmanship, each item carefully handmade and considered. His use of scale also brings up issues of male identity as the viewer hovers over the display of lifeless (and in the case of the thrift store, rejected) costumes of every day life. 

THIS wonderful short video offers a curator's walkthrough of MENS SUITS from LeDray's 2011 exhibition, Charles LeDray: workworkworkworkwork, at the Whitney Museum.

Detail of the tiny clothing all handmade by LeDray

Detail of the tiny clothing all handmade by LeDray

Tiny coat hangers made from resin 

Tiny coat hangers made from resin 

Installation view from the Bass Museum of Art gives a sense of the scale

Installation view from the Bass Museum of Art gives a sense of the scale