Well-known artist, Carl Morris (1911-1993) created luminous and affecting abstract works inspired by the natural beauty of the Northwest landscape. For this exhibition, we will present a selection of paintings and works on paper from the artist’s estate and private collections, spanning the middle decades of the 20th century. Many of these paintings have not been seen since before Morris’s death. They illustrate his remarkable ability to capture a range of light, color and sense of dynamic movement on the surfaces of his canvases and ink drawings. Morris was a deeply committed artist whose large and powerful abstract paintings attempted to express the absolute beauty found in nature. These explorations connected his work to the evolution of Western art, uniting his interest in the natural world to the artistic movement of abstraction. Throughout his career, he constantly sought new ways to explore these combined interests.
Originally born in California, Carl Morris was to become one of Oregon’s most renowned artists. He moved to Portland in the early 1940’s, and exhibited both in the state and nationally throughout his career. He studied in Chicago, Vienna, and Paris. His early friendships with the artists of the Northwest School, and with Mark Rothko in New York, influenced his art both regionally and nationally throughout his career. He gained recognition from museums on the East and West coasts, and from innumerable painters and critics of his generation. His work has been reviewed and profiled in hundreds of publications, ranging from Art in America to numerous exhibition catalogues. As well as being exhibited both nationally and internationally Morris’ work is included in public and private collections worldwide. Collections include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York; the Corcoran Gallery and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.; as well as the San Francisco Art Museum, the Portland Art Museum, and the Seattle Art Museum. In 1993, the Portland Art Museum honored Morris with a fifty year retrospective.