Artwork by Raymond John Mead,  Untitled

Ray Mead

oil on canvas
signed and dated 1959 lower right
40.25 x 39 ins ( 102.2 x 99.1 cms )

Auction Estimate: $15,000.00$10,000.00 - $15,000.00

Price Realized $15,600.00
Sale date: December 3rd 2020

Private Collection, Toronto
By descent to a Private Collection, Ontario
Private Collection, Toronto
Iris Nowell, “Painters Eleven: The Wild Ones of Canadian Art”, Vancouver/ Toronto, 2010, pages 231 and 235
Roald Nasgaard, “Abstract Painting in Canada”, Vancouver/Toronto, 2007, page 106
Studying at the Slade School of Art at the University College London from 1936-1939, Ray Mead was afforded a more avant-garde and free-spirited art education. Encouraged to experiment and move away from the rigid constraints of traditionalism, Mead was able to explore abstraction freely and integrate modern techniques of cubism and early abstraction into his practice.

Through his friendship with Hortense Gordon, Mead was opened to a circle of like-minded artists in Toronto who would all later become the Painters Eleven. Working closely with Gordon, and Walter Yarwood in particular, the importance of these artists is seen aptly in the artist’s earlier works of the 1950s. Favouring heavier black lines “that trip nimbly across large areas of his canvases,” Mead integrated the cubist and reductive techniques studied from Gordon and Yarwood, while favouring colourist theories. Moreover, “Mead experimented with technique, modifying his cubist elements by overlaying them with linear shapes, along with both calligraphic and geometric forms, but more important, he was learning how to manage colour.” Colour was of paramount importance to Mead. It was not only the gestural abstraction of form and painterly technique, but the combination of colour and tone which preoccupied the artist.

On the importance of the colour orange, Mead explained in a 1981 interview with Joan Murray, “I love orange, that’s the symbol of light. All shades of orange, from the yellowy orange to that the Japanese use in their prints to the reddy oranges, the lovely chemical oranges we use today, but it has a certain vitality.” The warmth and passion of the vivid oranges and rich ochres create the proverbial hearth of the home in this “Untitled” artwork.

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Raymond John Mead
(1921 - 1998) Painters Eleven