October 1 - November 22, 2003
Raymond Saunders’ masterfully constructed assemblages have a fresh and spontaneous quality that juxtaposes words and images from world culture with his personal artistic interests and preoccupations. Saunders’ keen sense of composition, form, and texture is balanced by his erudite use of color. His surfaces are spattered with expressionistic swaths of paint, richly colored, with delicately drawn figures, or inscribed with chalked words, names, and numbers. Saunders often uses materials from daily life such as handbills, comics, signs, old doors, which he has culled from his frequent travels. There is an abundance of invented and appropriated imagery and iconography which reference race, war, family, religion, poverty, wealth, people, and places amongst other subject matter. His powerful paintings and fluid spirited compositions combine to give the works a dense and engrossing narrative power.
“In an age when art is often drained of emotion and attempting to fly on increasingly thin and convoluted ironies, in a moment when beauty is out of fashion, these painters of blues, these collagists-magicians remind us of the immediate power of art to act on the mind and body directly through the senses, without explainers or translators, elevating the intellect, opening the heart and stirring the soul.”
Excerpt from essay by Glenn O’Brien in the catalogue for Raymond Saunders/ Jean-Michel Basquiat, exhibition at Galerie Sho, Tokyo, Japan, 2003.