Ralph Goings was born in Corning, California in 1928. He received his Bachelor’s of Arts from the California College of Arts in Oakland in 1953. In 1966, he earned his master’s from California State University, Sacramento and soon began independently exploring his signature style of realism. Goings now resides in Charlotteville, New York and Santa Cruz, California.
Goings's photorealist paintings of everyday American life say a lot about the artist himself and his family history, one marked by the poverty of the Great Depression. He painted matter-of-fact, precisely rendered snapshots of the American working class lifestyle in a dignified and poetic manner. While he began his career by experimenting with the emotionally unrestrained, painterly style of Abstract Expressionism, he quickly rejected it and moved onto his trademark style and subject matter grounded in emphatic realism. His precise, detailed approach to painting was in part inspired by the renewed emphasis on Realism in the late 1960s - except that Goings was never particularly interested in critiquing consumer culture. His polished, smoothly painted, hyper-realistic still lifes and genre paintings speak less to edgy, postmodern experimentation and more to the longstanding tradition of virtuoso illusionistic painting. This may explain in part the broad and enduring popularity of Goings's work: viewers have always enjoyed paintings that fool their eyes, that trick them into believing that what they are seeing in a painted image is the real thing rather than just a representation of it.
His work has been exhibited in galleries and musems across the world including the Des Moines Art Center, Whitney Museum of American Art, Guggenheim, Musee d’Art Moderne et Contemporain in Strasbourg, France, Samsung Museum of Modern Art in Seoul, Koreaand the Musem of Contemporary Art in Chicago.