Raymond Saunders: Paintings and Works on Paper

April 19 - May 26, 2001

The STEPHEN WIRTZ GALLERY is pleased to announce the exhibition of new work by RAYMOND SAUNDERS.

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 painting and fluid, spirited compositions combine to give the works a dense and engrossing narrative power.

One cannot analyze Saunders’ works without the ability to move within the ebb and flow of his evolving and ever-changing aesthetic. Saunders merges an improvisational, intuitive element in his paintings with a carefully conceptualized component that draws the viewer in.

RAYMOND SAUNDERS (b.1934, Pittsburgh, PA) studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the University of Pennsylvania, earning a B.F.A. at Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1960. In 1961, he received a M.F.A. from California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. He has received such awards as the Prix de Rome, 1964-1966, and National Endowment for the Arts Award in 1977 and 1984, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1976. Saunders has had solo exhibitions at The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, PA, M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, Seattle Art Museum, Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA, Hunter College, New York, amongst others. His work is included in such museum collections as The Whitney Museum of American Art, Walker Art Center, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.