Just about everyone who has been involved in the South Bay art scene over the past three decades knows, or knows of Ray Ashley, one of, if not the most avid art collectors of works by South Bay artists. In November, 2016, this colorful, generous, and passionate fixture in our community passed away.
For many in the art community, Ray Ashley was something of a patron saint, or at least a patron extraordinaire. A regular attendee at nearly every local art organization auction, Ray was known for his active and generous bidding, sometimes on twenty or thirty works in a night. His home was something of an adventure, with paintings covering every inch of wall space, and floors ever increasingly stacked with art leaning on every available space. Sculptures were piled and tucked into every nook and cranny. And he collected in this volume for more than 35 years! In the end, his collection contains works by many of the region’s most noted artists, a who’s who of the art community.
In 2013 Ray donated several hundred works in his collection to the Triton Museum of Art. He also named the Triton as the ultimate repository for his collection, numbering well over 1,000 works, ensuring that so many of our region’s artists will find their work preserved and protected in their community museum for generations to come. Beginning May 13, 2017, the Triton Museum of Art will showcase a good number of works from his collection, in a celebration of the vibrant and diverse artists of the South Bay over the last three decades, and in celebration of a true art patron. Thanks to Ray, future art patrons and enthusiasts will be able to experience the art of our time through the window if his collector’s eye.