Village Gallery Hosts Wood Sculptor Ray Jonas

Ray_Jonas for webThe Village Gallery of Local Artists proudly invites Ray Jonas as their Guest Artist for the months of August and September. A reception will be held on August 5th from 5-8pm to welcome Ray and his elegant free-form wood sculpture.

Ray specializes in smaller pieces, created from mixed hardwoods, some with translucent stone inlays. Ray does most of his work by hand, giving him the ability to use his artistic eye to follow the wood’s natural grain. This results in graceful, irregular shapes emphasizing Nature’s beauty.

Ray Jonas attended the Art Center College of Design Los Angeles, California and later studied sculpture at Brigham Young University in Utah where a class in crafts introduced him to wood sculpture and vessels.

Ray worked for 35 years in a bronze foundry in Utah, pursuing his own metal sculpture during breaks and weekends. His job was interrupted when the foundry sold, and Ray created rustic wood furniture from logs to support his family, using evergreens logs collected from the local sawmill or wherever he could find them. He used a 36” bar on his chainsaw to fashion chairs, pedestals and benches in a free-form style.

When the economic downturn hit the art business about ten years ago, work at the bronze foundry dried up completely. Ray turned the unasked for situation into an opportunity to do the things he dreamed of. He and his wife talked it over and decided to move to the Verde Valley in Arizona, leaving their snow shovel behind.

Ray collects luminous stone slabs from places like Zion, Grand Canyon and Cameron, as well as the occasional small town rock shop or junk store. He finds hardwoods from around the world in a wide array of colors from deep red, bright yellow to deep black and combines them to create finely crafted, heirloom quality works of art.

The Village Gallery’s Guest Artist Program provides opportunities for the local community to meet artists, and gives artists exposure to a new audience for two months. The gallery is committed to supporting the local art scene and is accepting applications for membership from local artists.

The public is invited to meet Ray Jonas on August 5th 5-8pm, as well as the Village Gallery’s September First Friday reception. Refreshments will be served and many of the gallery’s member artists will attend. The Village Gallery of Local Artists is located in the Village of Oak Creek at the roundabout on Hwy 179 and Cortez. For more information call 284-1416 or visit