Luxury Design, Past & Present
Roy Ray (British b.1936) St. Ives School. "Trencrom Fragment 4/10 Ochre", 1991. Mixed media: Oil on cast acrylic. #4 from a limited edition of 10, each with a unique colour. Signed, dated and titled on reverse of frame. 13.5in x 13.5in x 1.25in (34cm x 34cm x 3cm) max. Mounted in a square wood and perspex box frame, 20in x 20in x 2.5in (51cm x 51cm 6.5cm) frame size.
CONDITION: Excellent original condition. The frame has a small gouge on the top section and a few other minor marks and scuffs.
BIOGRAPHY: Born in Feltham, Middlesex in 1936, Roy Ray’s formative years were against the backdrop of the Second World War. Whilst at school, he was a member of the Air Training Corps, and, leaving school at 16, he joined the RAF as soon as he was able, at the age of seventeen. He left the Armed Services in 1959. As a civilian, Ray worked in the lighting department of a large London store until leaving his job in 1965 to set up his own company, making table lamps and shades of his own design. During this time, Roy Ray studied painting at Croydon Art College. Holidays spent in St Ives found Ray at art classes there, and in 1969, Roy Ray and his family moved to Cornwall, allowing him to develop his skills in an area where an artist’s energies are inspired by the surrounding light and an ancient landscape.
In 1977, at a time when The St Ives School was suffering a decline with the deaths of several of its key members, Roy Ray became its Principal; a post he held until 2000, and resumed in 2005. He worked devotedly to raise the School’s profile, organising exhibitions, festivals and related events. In 1984, with a major exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London, Roy Ray gave the first of his slide-lectures on the artists and history of The St Ives School from the 1880s-1980s; which were to run annually until 1992. Over this period, Ray became heavily involved in the campaign to install a Tate Gallery in St Ives. Building work on the Tate St Ives, which now houses modern and contemporary art, began in 1991. No wonder Roy Ray has been credited as the modern ‘saviour’ of the St Ives School of Art.
Roy Ray’s own works can be seen to reflect both the space and time in which Ray has experienced his own life on Earth: the bold beauty of Cornwall, harsh yet bowed, rough yet tranquil; eroded, weathered and scarred by nature and man, yet enduring, vital, yielding, forgiving: and war - a brutal, violating, mechanised destruction: an evil against which humanity yet prevails and communities rally. Much like an aerial view of a patchwork landscape, Ray’s pieces are often presented in small, square frames, and are rich, earthy, textured and reflective of these dualities. The Trencrom Fragment we have for sale here is a fine example.
In 2000, Roy Ray founded the St Ives School of Painting Trust, coinciding with the years in which he was largely free of his duties as Principal, allowing him some time in which to develop his own work. From this was born Ray’s ambitious ‘Evilution Project’, a five-panelled work which looks back at the “mass destruction of innocent lives by the corrupt use of science and technology”; first exhibited at the Falmouth Art Gallery in 2008. The 911 Panel from this Project is to be included on permanent display at the September 11 Memorial Museum in the World Trade Centre.
Roy Ray has exhibited extensively across England, and in Europe and the USA.