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Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications


From November 7 to January 7, Reed College’s Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery will feature the paintings of internationally recognized artist Raymond Saunders. The Cooley Gallery is open every day except Monday from noon to 5 p.m. The gallery is in Reed's library. Parking is available nearby, and the #19 bus stops on Woodstock at the campus entrance near the library. For more information, please call 503/777-7790.

Raymond Saunders’s work juxtaposes objects found in daily life–comics, handbills, signs, old doors–with swaths of paint, delicately drawn figures, and chalked words and images. Saunders’s assemblages use invented and appropriated iconography to comment on a range of subjects, including race, war, family, religion, and poverty. Because many elements of his work have a separate history, it has the capacity for multiple meanings. Saunders’s sophisticated sense of color and composition combined with his powerful painting give his works a dense and engrossing narrative power.

Toni Morrison wrote of Saunders’s work, "From an environment of the lost, the discarded, Saunders creates another wholly inscribed world of found things in which chalk and metal and paint and wallpaper and toys and insignia combine to destabilize and soothe us–then to change us altogether like a tropical medicine belt."

New Observations magazine wrote that "Saunders has been at the forefront of color experimentation, collage, assemblage, drawing, and gestural painting in this country. Apart from his career longevity and high level of artistic production, Saunders has successfully merged in practically all of his work the perceptual qualities of paint and other artist’s pigments with the psychological qualities of racial and/or cultural pigmentation."

Raymond Saunders was born in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and at the University of Pennsylvania. He earned a B.F.A. at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Oakland, and an M.F.A. from the California College of Arts and Crafts. He has received numerous awards, including the Prix de Rome, the National Endowment for the Arts award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His work is included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Walker Art Center, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and has been exhibited frequently both in the U.S. and worldwide.

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