Wednesday, September 17, 2014

'Work From the 60's' - Richard Allen Morris at the RB Stevenson Gallery, La Jolla

RB Stevenson Gallery, La Jolla, CA
Richard Allen Morris
Work from the 60’s

Article by Cathy Breslaw
A Word From Giotto   oil on canvas   68 1/2" x 67 1/4"   1961

 Viewing the work of Richard Allen Morris in his new exhibition Work From the 60’s  is a step back into art history recalling the Combine series by Robert Rauschenberg, the figurative work of Willem de Kooning and the figurative works by artists during the German Expressionist art movement. This octogenarian came into his own during the 1960’s within the time frame of his mid-20’s to mid-30’s – and his art works from this period reflect this fact. The use of materials are wide ranging – oils on cardboard, panel and canvas, wood sculpture, assemblage, mixed media collage, and ceramic sculpture. All the works share an  energy, spirit and emotion of a young artist developing his craft. There are three oil and mixed media assemblage works from his ‘gun’ series for which the artist is well known. Included in the show are several small portraits  where the distortions in color, scale, space, facial expression and handling of the  brush, convey subjective feelings that evoke our emotions.  The series of small ceramic wall sculptures are expressionistic abstract works that resemble the sensuality of painting. While paintings ‘Ghost Writer’, ‘Laying Low’ and ‘Whitman’s Heart’ are more ‘minimal’ works,  it is clear that Morris’s  sensibility as an artist lies in his drive to express emotion, rhythm and movement.  This is especially evident in what may be considered the ‘signature’ piece of the show – a painting called ‘A Word from Giotto’, a large oil on canvas that showcases Morris’s skill as a painter, with all the nuances of energetic brushwork, color, line and space. The fifty-five works in this exhibition is an ambitious representation of one decade in the life of a still-prolific artist.

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