[Parker's] use of color really added something to New York painting with is sharpness, clarity and power. His color comes out of Matisse, but he extends and intensifies it. He'll take a red and play it out into a pink in a way that comes out of Matisse's 'Jazz.' The aura of color in his late work is unrelenting.
William C. Agee, historian of American Art
Raymond Parker 1922–1990
Raymond Parker’s work is often linked to the Abstract Expressionist and Color Field movements of the 1950s and 1960s. Inspired by jazz and the work of Henri Matisse, Parker’s paintings are moving meditations on emotions, lyrical explorations of our interior lives. Parker’s work is celebrated for its levity, lucidity and expressive nature.
Born in 1922 in Beresford, South Dakota, Parker studied at the University of Iowa, graduating with an MFA in 1948. While a student, Parker’s paintings were largely Cubist-inspired but in the 1950s, inspired by New York artists such as Mark Rothko and Helen Frankenthaler, he shifted towards a more atmospheric abstraction, imbued with emotion. He is most well-known for his Simple Paintings series from the 1950s and 1960s, which feature joyous, amoebic forms that recall Matisse’s cut-outs, floating on a white background, layered and transparent like tissue paper.
Along with being a prolific and respected artist, Parker also taught painting at Hunter College in New York for thirty-five years and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. His work is held in collections such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Tate Gallery, London and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Parker passed away in 1990.