26 MAY to 8 JULY


Barbara Edwards Contemporary is pleased to present Ray Mead Orange Field. A prominent member of Painters Eleven, Ray Mead (1921-1998) played a formative role on the development of modernism in Canada. Mead’s abstractions, recognized for their rich colours and bold gestures, emphasize a commitment to colour evident in his simple yet complex compositions. This exhibition brings together paintings and works on paper from the 70s and early 80s, some of which have never been shown before.

In 1972, Ray Mead returned to painting after an eight-year break due to illness caused by oil paint chemicals. Abandoning oils in favour of acrylics brought about a transition in his work. Minimal in composition, Mead’s paintings from this period encompass a play with geometry and areas of colour that, upon close inspection, reveal layers of tonal variations. Orange, one of Mead’s favourite colours, is prominent through the exhibition.

“I love orange, that’s the symbol of light. All shades of orange, from the yellowy orange that the Japanese use in their prints to the reddy oranges, the lovely chemical oranges we use today...”

Ray Mead was born in 1921 in Watford in Hertfordshire, England. He studied art at the Slade School until 1939 when he joined the Royal Air Force to train as a fighter pilot at the start of WWII. In 1941 he was posted to Hamilton, Ontario and traveled often to the United States, which exposed him to American culture and the New York art scene. He later joined the Ontario Society of Artists (OSA) and established close relationships with several artists who would eventually join to form Painters Eleven. Mead was included in fifteen Painters Eleven exhibitions as well as many solo and group exhibitions, such as the National Gallery of Canada in 1956, 1972 and 1992. His work is held in numerous collections including the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

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Ray Mead in Yellow Field
Untitled, 1976
acrylic on canvas, 79" x 65"

Ray Mead Hector's Gate
Hector's Gate, 1976
acrylic on canvas, 76.5" x 88.25"

Ray Mead Orange Field
Orange Field, 1975
acrylic on canvas, 68.75" x 71.5"

Ray Mead In Red
In Red, 1976
acrylic on canvas, 77.5" x 87"