On April 28 the Washburn Gallery will open the ninth exhibition of paintings by Ray Parker (1922-1990). The artist referred to his works from this period of his as the “Simple” paintings in that they are generally composed of two or three areas in two or three colors on canvases ranging from 8 x 10 inches to 85 x 100 inches. The brochure for the Parker exhibit will include seven reproductions with the following except from a 1965 exhibition catalogue for the Dayton Art Institute:
“Ray Parker’s world of beautifully resonant color and limitless space is a seductive realm once one accepts the artist’s deliberate rejections. It is non-literary, non-illusionistic; it has no story, no metaphysics, no shadows, no kinaesthetic tensions, no symbols or signs, no neo-Freudian psychology. This is painting wholly for the eyes and it is primarily an affair of color. Parker has pursued this affair with color with a concentrated single-mindedness and 'an insistence that is nearly moral in its intensity.'
But let the beholder beware: this is a matter which involves something more or something other than the unmixed sensuous appeal of beautiful color. Whether through intention and an exquisitely refined sensibility or through conscious intent, Parker has been engaged in a pursuit of far-reaching implications: he is renovating the art of painting and, through it, visual history. Because of this kind of painting we are bound to see differently than we have before and with changed habits of seeing, the visual and the conceptual realms become transformed. The painter who engages in this kind of activity is special. Others will mirror or interpret existing uglinesses or beauties with more or less validity and intensity; a few, like Parker, will extend the potentialities of vision.”
Excerpt from essay for “Ray Parker: Exhibition of Paintings”
The Dayton Art Institute, January 8 to February 7, 1965