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About Ralph Pugay 

Ralph Pugay’s work embodies a vibrant and irreverent exploration of human experiences, drawing from his Filipino-American heritage and queer identity. His paintings and drawings are characterized by their bright colors and playful compositions, presenting surreal and absurd scenarios that challenge viewers to reconsider everyday life through a humorous and critical lens. By juxtaposing historical events, popular culture, and the oddities of modern life, Pugay creates visual narratives that are both entertaining and thought-provoking. His work often tackles themes of cultural dissonance, social rituals, and the peculiarities of human behavior, inviting audiences to engage with complex issues through the disarming power of humor.
Drawing inspiration from history, internet culture, and everyday observations, Ralph Pugay’s paintings serve as allegorical tableaus, reflecting the anxieties and absurdities of public life and highlighting the tensions between conformity and individuality.
Pugay experiments with dynamic compositions and vivid imagery. His site-specific installations and large-scale drawings further expand his exploration of visual storytelling, creating immersive experiences that challenge viewers to navigate the interplay between external influences and internal perceptions.

Ralph Pugay (b. 1983 in Cavite, Philippines; based in Portland, OR) has exhibited his work in solo and group exhibitions across the US, including such venues as Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA; Adams & Ollman, Portland OR; Cristin Tierney, New York NY; Vox Populi, Philadelphia PA; AA|LA, Los Angeles, CA; Salt Lake Art Center, Salt Lake City UT; Ditch Projects, Eugene OR; Ortega Y Gasset Projects, Brooklyn NY; among many others. He is the recipient of several awards including a Ford Family Foundation Rauschenberg Fellowship, the 2015 Betty Bowen Award, Seattle Art Museum; an Oregon Arts Commission Fellowship, and a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Award.

Pugay has been in residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Madison, ME; the Rauschenberg Foundation, Captiva Island, FL; the Joan Mitchell Center, New Orleans, LA; Crow's Shadow Golden Spot Residency Program, Pendleton, OR, and Creative Exchange Lab, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, OR. 


Pugay holds a BA and MFA in Contemporary Art Practice from Portland State University, Portland, OR. Alongside his studio practice, he has undertaken number of socially engaged community and public art projects and has worked as an art educator, most recently as head of the Studio MFA Program at Portland State University (2019-2021).

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