Artist biography

Ray Parker born 1922 [- 1990]

American abstract painter. Born in Beresford, South Dakota. Entered the University of Iowa 1940; was also working as a professional jazz trumpeter. In the merchant marine 1944-5. Graduated at Iowa University in 1946, but continued there as graduate assistant in art history and criticism 1947-8. Painting instructor at the University of Minnesota 1948-51. First one-man exhibition at the Louisville Art Center, Minneapolis, 1950. Spent the summer of 1950 in San Francisco where he became acquainted with leading Abstract Expressionists. Moved to New York in 1951. His early work was partly Cubist in structure (e.g. Stuart Davis), but he began in 1951 to work with looser brushstrokes and jostling, overlapping areas of colour. Taught painting at Memphis Academy of Art in 1953 and has taught at Hunter College, New York, since 1955. Simplified his style in 1957-8 and started to paint pictures with two or three cloud-like or monolithic areas of colour on a neutral ground. From c.1963 began to use firmer-edged areas of colour, followed by more complex compositions full of movement, with rhythmical, undulating shapes. Lives in New York.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.579-80