We are pleased to present the powerful and commanding paintings of well-known artist, Carl Morris (1911-1993). Inspired by the natural beauty of the Northwest landscape, his luminous and affecting works seem connected to something unworldly, sacred. For this exhibition, we will present a selection of paintings from the 1970s to 1990. During this period, Morris switched from oils to acrylics and moved to a bigger studio in Portland’s Old Town. His painting became freer while the abstraction grew more structural–its variation, drama, and dynamics not unlike the elements of music. This sensibility, along with his deep commitment to the region, empowers the geological and watery forms that make up his unique interpretations. Luckily for us, the legacy of this profound and prolific painter lives on.
Although Carl Morris began his education in California, his further studies in Chicago, Vienna, and Paris began a life long interest in broader ideas of contemporary art. He was an original, first-generation abstract painter linked to the New York School of the 1950s through his exhibitions at the Kraushaar Galleries in New York and partly through his friendship with Mark Rothko. He eventually made Portland his home in 1941 where he stayed for more than 50 years becoming one of the most historically significant artists from the Pacific Northwest. Regionally, he was grouped with the Northwest Mystical School along with Mark Tobey, Morris Graves and Kenneth Callahan. He has been recognized by museums across the country and his work has been reviewed and profiled extensively in numerous publications. His paintings have been exhibited internationally and are included in public and private collections around the world. Morris died in 1993, the same year the Portland Art Museum honored him with a retrospective.