The Marin Museum of Contemporary Art is thrilled to present This Is For You, an exhibit by established Bay Area artist Raymond Saunders. The exhibit will include over 50 selected works, spanning the past two decades, including recent work completed in the past two years.
The exhibition offers an extensive look at Raymond Saunders’ work and his visual vocabulary. Saunders’ work can be loosely described as mixed media collage painting and he uses materials without concern for their archival merits. One can find familiar objects such as newspapers, wallpaper, or even a plastic bag. The materials, like the compositions themselves, are spontaneous and inclusive, without bias against the most humble print or paper. Saunders has an aesthetic all his own. Despite his variety of mark-making and source material, each piece is cohesive; each included element feels carefully balanced. The large paintings included in this exhibition illustrate this well, and prove to be good examples of his iconic blend of urban ephemera, graceful linework, and improvisational brushwork- most against a rich black ground. Of particular interest in this exhibition is his use of abstracted flowering blooms. They emerge sometimes as messy whites splatters with deep red centers on some of the larger works, More recent, smaller pieces forgo his signature black background and instead rest on vacant white space. They are satisfying shades of intense blue or red with delicate graphite stems. Though many of these new small works are a fraction of the size of his larger paintings, nevertheless, Saunders creates elegant compositions as deftly as the ones that are significantly larger.
Saunders is in his eighth decade, but at a time when many artists become concerned with their legacy and place in the history books, Saunders is more concerned with ensuring access and mentorship for future young artists. It is out of this desire to share the work intentionally and broadly, that the exhibition's title, This Is For You, was conceived. Part of his interest for an exhibition at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art was tied to the fact that it is open and accessible to all, and the museum charges no admission fee. Although Saunders has concurrent exhibitions happening internationally, he was extremely generous and open to exhibiting his work at MarinMOCA, and for that we are honored to have the opportunity to exhibit and share his work with the public.