Raymond Saunders. Assemblage and Graffiti
Raymond Saunders’ mixed-media paintings combine found objects—newspaper, handbills, plastic figurines, and signs collected on city walks—with paint and graffiti-like chalk scribbles on chalkboard. Often compared to the work of Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008) for incorporating everyday objects or high and low forms of culture, Saunders’ compositions likewise evoke the neo-abstract work of Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–1988). Scribbles and text combine harmoniously with image and abstraction in an urban-inspired arena marked by the cacophony of city life, and the abundance and struggle found within it. Not Real But Wanting To Be (1999) presents a painting within a painting. A still life of a vase holding flowers rests on an easel—an actual wooden ledge affixed to the surface of the painting—to play with notions of reality and fiction.