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Santa Monica College Gallery Hosts Raymond Saunders Exhibit

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By Lookout Staff

February 18, 2016 -- Recent works by artist Raymond Saunders, who is known for multi-media works that explore social and political themes, are the subject of an exhibition at Santa Monica College that opened Tuesday.

“Untitled” mixed-media-on-panel paintings by Raymond Saunders
One of three “Untitled” mixed-media-on-panel
paintings by Raymond Saunders included in the exhibition.

The exhibition, which runs through March 26, features a reception on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Pete & Susan Barrett Art Gallery, where Saunders will present a gallery talk and exhibition walkthrough sponsored by the SMC Associates.

Saunders' recent works are "thoughtful creations combining energetic and dissonant mixtures of drawing, collage, assemblage, and gestural bursts of paint that present subtle messages about politics, race, and his personal experiences as an African American artist," said the exhibit's organizers.

Saunders made a mark on the contemporary art scene in the 1960s, receiving the Prix de Rome, 1964-1966 for works that were often compared with those of Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg and Jean-Michel Basquiat, but his voice "has remained unclassifiable and singular," organizers said.

"Saunders’ art reflects life in an urban environment, where a wide array of materials help create a personal identity," organizers wrote. "The artist reuses carefully chosen materials once discarded by society to compose works that visually dismantle cultural hierarchies."

Saunders has said of his art: “In the process of painting, for the one thing that someone sees, there are innumerable things that they never see.”

Saunders' awards have included the National Endowment for the Arts Award in 1977 and 1984 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1976.

His works, which have been exhibited nationwide, are in collections at the Museum of Modern Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others.

This year, Saunders will have a one-person exhibition in London at the Tate Modern.

SMC's Pete & Susan Barrett Art Gallery is located at the SMC Performing Arts Center on Santa Monica Boulevard at 11th Street. Due to construction work, visitors should enter from 11th Street.

Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call (310) 434-3434.

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