"For Ivey, these paintings are mostly about the process of discovery while painting them. He prefers that his work hang in surroundings, which allow the viewer to relax and enjoy a one-on-one relationship, as removed from the distraction of daily life as possible. Once the situation is set, one will come to appreciate the time it takes to "see" the depth and magic of a work by Ivey."
--John Braseth, Art Dealer
Born in Seattle in 1919, Ivey originally planned to become a lawyer, but an interest in drawing led him to take classes at Cornish School in Seattle. Following service in World War II as a paratrooper, Ivey studied at the California School of Fine Arts where he was strongly influenced by Clifford Still, Mark Rothko, and emerging abstract expressionism. In 1948, Ivey returned to Seattle, away from the West Coast art centers, where he had continued to paint in his own strikingly individual style.
William Ivey was an abstract expressionist painter who developed a highly personal style. Ivey spent most of his life in Seattle and created works inspired by observations of the real world. However, his intense immersion in the painting process transformed the original subject matter into lush abstractions that emphasize dark and light, color, and the picture plane. In Ivey’s paintings, shapes seem subordinate to color in the development of spaces, and delicate neutral grays set off glowing patches of bright hues.
Represented by the Woodside Braseth Gallery since 1960, Ivey had major solo exhibitions in both the United States and Europe. His work has been shown at the National Museum of Art in Osaka, Japan and he has had a retrospective at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, Washington. His work can be found in over 300 collections. He has received numerous awards including the Rockefeller fellowship, the Ford Foundation Purchase Award, a grant from the National Foundation for the Arts and Humanities.
William Ivey Exhibition at Woodside Braseth Gallery, by Matthew Kangas
Oral History Interview with William Ivey, Archives of American Art
"William Ivey, A sensitive Mentor And Dean of Northwest Painters", by Delores Tarzan