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Ray Grist Abstract Painting

Ray Grist (b. 1939)

Ray grew up in East Harlem, and studied at the Art Students League and the New School for Social Research.  He exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem (his work is in the permanent collection) and Cinque Gallery.  Grist’s work was included in the seminal exhibition , The Search for Freedom, African American Abstract Painting 1945-1975 at Kenkeleba Gallery , New York, May 19-July 14, 1991.  He was also included in 25 Years of African American Art , organized by the Studio Museum in Harlem, 1994, which showed at many venues across the country.

Grist traveled to Portugal in 1969, and when he returned to New York, he had his first solo show with Cinque at the New York Public Theater by Astor Place (1970).  The year the painting Seated was created, the New York School Board, District 9, used his works for educational programs.  In an interview from 1979, Grist stated: “Our society has a basic racial structure.  Black people certainly have a tradition which is different from the cultural tradition of mainstream in American society.  I am not a White person; I am a Black person.  And I am a painter.  I give expression to my experience as a person, and necessarily , as a Black person, through painting.”   Black Art, an International Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 1, p. 50.

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