Carl Ray

Carl Ray (January 10, 1943 – September 26, 1978) was a First Nations artist who was active on the Canadian art scene from 1969 until his death in 1978. Considered primarily a Woodlands Style artist, he also painted European style wildlife and landscapes. He was a founding member of the Indian Group of Seven.  He apprenticed under Norval Morrisseau and worked on the mural for the Indians of Canada Pavilion of Expo ’67 in Montreal. Norval had designed and sketched the mural but it was Carl who did most of the work and was left to finish it. As well as translating the legends, Carl also created a large and impressive group of illustrations for James Stevens’ book “Legends of the Sandy Lake Cree” in 1971.  With the help of Ontario Department of Education Superintendent Robert Lavack, Carl embarked on a tour teaching art at schools in northern communities. Carl continued to develop and paint through the mid 70’s completing notable large scale mural opportunities at schools and the Sioux Lookout Fellowship and Communications Centre as well as smaller works becoming more popular. In the early 1970s Ray had the first solo exhibition of his black and sepia, Woodlands style paintings on paper and canvas at Aggregation Gallery in Toronto. By 1975, the Indian Group of Seven had formed and Ray was enjoying acclaim and purchases by notable collectors such as Dr. Peter Lewin and Dr. Bernard Cinader, as well as public institutions such as the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. He also illustrated the cover of “The White City” published by Tom Marshall in 1976. Much of Carl’s art was influenced by his often troubled personal life and inner demons and excesses.

Taboo Island
Acrylic and Ink on Paper
22" x 30"