Ray Frederick was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and reared on a farm in nearby Marion. From early childhood he knew he wanted to be an artist. His Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees are from the University of Iowa.
Additional art credits from Drake University and the University of Colorado were earned when noted artists whose work he admired, taught summer classes. These included Raulston Crawford, Kenzo Okada, Jimmy Ernst (painters); Jack Zajac (sculpture), and James & Nan McKinnel (ceramics). Trips to many American and European art museums provided chances for independent study.
In 1984 Frederick was chosen to exhibit in Japan with the Des Moines Sister City Cultural Exchange.
A painting travelled for two-year stays in Bolivia (twice), Bulgaria, and Saudi-Arabia as part of the State Department’s Art in Embassies program.
With the work of three other Iowans, a painting of Ray’s hung for two years in the Iowa Development Commission’s office in Hamburg, Germany. Also, one of his paintings was in a collection of Iowan’s art in Senator Clark’s office in Washington, D.C.
After receiving his teaching degree from the University of Iowa, Frederick spent many years teaching art. In Marshalltown, he transitioned from junior to senior high, and then the local community college. After Frederick retired from teaching, the RAY FREDERICK GALLERY was established at Marshalltown Community College.
“Underpainting texture is a basic characteristic of my work. Collage materials such as burlap, canvas, and denim are often used along with modeling paste, plaster, perlite, dry gesso, corn starch, and other textural additives to create a unique painting surface. Iowa landscape is my primary subject matter resource, having lived here all my life.
For me painting is an adventure. It is an exploration of possibilities without knowing what the result will be until it happens. Most of my paintings are inspired by daily experiences and places – the changing seasons, weather, travel, growing up on a farm, Colorado mountains, foreign cities, etc. Paintings are created from memories and impressions or, some from direct observation of a particular place.
Still life, pop art themes, and abstracts are other possibilities dealt with from time to time. Most compositions are improvised from imagination and memory.”