Best known as an Abstract expressionist painter, Raymond Parker was also associated with Color Field painting and Lyrical Abstraction. Parker was an influential art teacher, an important Color Field painter, and an instrumental figure in the movement coined by Clement Greenberg called Post-Painterly Abstraction.
Born in 1922 in Beresford, South Dakota, Parker attended the University of Iowa where he earned his MFA. From 1948 to 1951 he taught painting at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. His early works were influenced by Cubism, but after meeting the leading Abstract Expressionists of the day, including Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning, he began to simplify and refine his works through abstraction and color.
Combining his appreciation for jazz, Henri Matisse, and Color Field painting, Parker produced unique works in an improvised painting style that reflected various emotional states. Over the years, he developed a singular style characterized by intense color and simple geometric shapes. Among his most famous bodies of work are the Simple Paintings from the late 1950s early 1960s, where he used the method of stacked, clearly colored floating forms that are straightforward and geometric in shape. Parker died in 1990.
Featured image: Ray Parker – Untitled, 1975 (detail). Oil on canvas. 20 1/2 x 20 1/2 in. 52.1 x 52.1 cm. Photo courtesy Berry Campbell Gallery