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Interlude: Recent Work by James Rayen


Interlude: Recent Work by James Rayen opens September 24, 2002 at the Davis Museum and Cultural Center and continues through December 15, 2002. The exhibition features recent works by landscape artist James Rayen, a founding member of the Wellesley College studio art program and celebrates the artist's contributions to the college and his upcoming retirement from the Wellesley faculty. An opening reception will be held Tuesday, September 24 from 6 to 7:30pm. The exhibition and related events are free and open to the public.

The exhibit features more than twenty of his recent paintings, drawings and prints. Primarily his works depict landscapes, often manicured gardens and ordered long views. Seeking the line between perception and cognition, Rayen's art presents the abstract in reality. His surfaces poignantly reflect the aesthetic in the natural order. The exhibition is not a retrospective-these works focus on this moment in his career, when Rayen will be able to vigorously turn to his art making full-time. Notes Rayen: "I can't imagine not being an artist. I'm a painter and I like making images. And I can't imagine having a fulfilled life without continuing to do that." (left: James Rayen, Skycroft: Against Seasons, 35 x 42 inches)

As a young graduate student at Yale University struggling to find his voice as an artist, Rayen received good advice from a trusted teacher-go someplace you find comfortable and start drawing. With that, Rayen trekked out to the beach on Long Island Sound in the dead of winter, and found a passion that would last a lifetime. "Being in nature always meant something to me," said Rayen, "and maybe I was really meant to look at it more seriously." Rayen does take nature seriously as he explores the world we live in and the beauty that surrounds us.

Rayen's contribution to Wellesley is immeasurable-with 40 years of teaching behind him, he has made a significant mark on the arts at Wellesley. As the first full-time tenured studio artist at the College, Rayen built the art department from an ancillary to the teaching of art history into its current status as a popular major with generations of devoted students, many of whom have pursued careers as artists.

Also on view in connection with the exhibition will be a selection of drawings and prints from the Davis Museum and Cultural Center permanent collection by artists from Atget to Albers whose work has influenced Rayen's stylistic evolution.

Trained at Yale University, Rayen received his B.A. in 1957 and his M.F.A in 1961, the year he joined the Wellesley faculty. His work has been seen in numerous galleries and museums from Shanghai, China to Wellfleet, MA. Collections that hold his work include the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Yale University, among others, and private collections across the U.S. and in Europe. In addition, Harvard University, the New England Medical Center and the Hyatt Hotel Corporation have commissioned Rayen to produce works for them. His awards include a Ford Foundation Grant in the Humanities in 1969 and a Massachusetts Artists' Foundation Grant in 1989.

An exhibition catalog with essays by Lucy Flint-Gohlke, former Davis Museum and Cultural Center curator, Richard Wallace, professor of art history, Wellelsey and Jock Reynolds, director, Yale University Art Gallery is available for purchase at the museum and public programs highlighting the artist in the liberal arts setting accompanies the exhibition.

This project is made possible with funding from the Wellesley College Art Department, Wellesley College Friends of Art, Office of the Dean of Wellesley College, Davis Museum and Cultural Center, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.


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