Raymond K. Parker Biography

Raymond K. Parker




Raymond K. Parker (Ray Parker) was born in Beresford, South Dakota on August 22, 1922. Parker entered the University of Iowa in Iowa City in 1940 where he earned his MFA in 1948. From 1948 to 1951 he taught painting at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. During the 1940s his paintings were heavily influenced by cubism. In the early 1950s, however, Parker became associated with the leading abstract expressionists of the day, including Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning. Parker soon began to simplify and refine his works realizing that through abstraction and color his paintings could convey and express emotion.

He became known as an Abstract expressionist painter who also was associated with Color Field painting and Lyrical Abstraction. Ray Parker was an influential art teacher and an important Color Field painter and an instrumental figure in the movement coined by Clement Greenberg called Post-Painterly Abstraction. He taught painting at Hunter College in New York.

Like many artists of the time, Parker was a fan of jazz music, and his interest in Jazz, combined with his interest in abstract expressionism, led to his improvised painting style. Parker was also a great admirer of the painter Henri Matisse and he looked to this artist’s work for inspiration in terms of color and form, especially in his paintings of the 1970s and 1980s. He is best known by his work of the late 1950s early 1960s called his Simple Paintings. These paintings are characterized by discreet cloudlike forms of clear, and intense color set against a white or an off-white background. Parker’s paintings utilizing this method of stacked, clearly colored lozenges and floating forms are straightforward and basically geometric in shape. Ray Parker's works relate to and predict the minimalist and Color Field paintings of the 1960s.

Parker’s work can be found in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum, MOMA, Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, all in New York and the Tate Gallery in London, to name a few. Raymond Parker died in New York on April 14, 1990.

Drawn from Wikipedia and other sources.