Philadelphia artist Quentin Morris began creating
monochromatic black paintings and drawings almost 40 years ago as a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, which will display his work Dec. 11, 2004, through Feb. 13, 2005. The exhibition will be in the Morris Gallery for contemporary art. Morris' installation is the final exhibition to open before the Academy's
200th Anniversary Celebration begins on Jan. 11, 2005. Morris will paint
the Morris Gallery a variety of shades and sheens of black, and install a
series of circular paintings on canvas made over the past 10 years.
gesture represents a new direction in Morris' artistic development, as he
ventures outside the boundaries of canvas and paper into the realm of
installation. In creating this all-encompassing environment, Morris intends
to expand the contemplative aspects of his painting outward, converting the
gallery into a chapel or spiritual space.
Morris explains in his artist statement: "I began exploring monochromatic
painting . . . exclusively black using a myriad of tonalities and textures
to present black's intrinsically enigmatic beauty and infinite depth, to
refute all negative cultural mythologies about the color, and ultimately, to
create work that innately expresses the all encompassing spirituality of
In the foyer outside the Morris Gallery, four large paintings on irregular
rectangular sheets of paper will offer viewers further insight into Morris'
rich, wide-ranging approach to making art with a black palette.
Morris applies graphite, powdered pigment, crayon, spraypaint, ink, and
acrylic to a variety of surfaces including found paper, Mylar, canvas and
linen. His work hangs unframed and unstretched-the drawings are often
anchored to the gallery wall only at the top corners, curling and floating
on the current of air as visitors pass by.
The density and volume of applied media provide a rich visual experience in
which the irregularities of medium, support and application play off of one
another. Morris' drawing method, applying media to paper resting on the
floor of his studio, allows chance patterning and mottled imperfection as
the works pick up surface textures of the concrete floor underneath.
Morris joins the Academy for an opening reception Friday, Dec. 10, from 6 to
8 p.m. The event is complimentary and open to the public. Morris also will
discuss his work during a Visiting Artist presentation Jan. 20, 2005, at
11:30 a.m.-also complimentary and open to the public.
The accompanying brochure essay was written by Gerard Brown, an artist,
critic and writer based in Philadelphia.
Quentin Morris has been featured in many exhibitions in the Philadelphia
area, including the African-American Museum, Arcadia University Art Gallery,
Larry Becker Contemporary Art, Brandywine Workshop, Moore College
of Art and Design, Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia Art Alliance, and
the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Elsewhere, Morris has shown at the Chicago
Cultural Center; the Drawing Center, N.Y.; Emory Museum of Art
Morris exhibition, and Archaeology, Atlanta; Gray Gallery at East Carolina State University,
Greenville, N.C.; and Museo de Arte Contemporaria, Recife, Brazil, among
The Quentin Morris exhibition and renovations to the Academy's contemporary
Morris Gallery are made possible through the generous support of The William
Penn Foundation. Additional renovations to the Academy's historic landmark
building are funded by a grant from the Richard C. von Hess Foundation.
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts receives state funding support
through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency
funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for
the Arts, a federal agency.