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Rebecca Morris

Harris Lieberman Gallery
89 Vandam Street, 212-206-1290
November 18, 2010 - January 8, 2011
Reception: Thursday, November 18, 6 - 8 PM
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Harris Lieberman is delighted to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Los Angeles-based artist Rebecca Morris, her first solo exhibition at the gallery.

Morris’s “perverse formalism” mixes direct paint handling and strikingly bold forms. Since leaving school in 1994 for an art world largely indifferent to abstract painting, Morris has mined an intensively personal, uncanny visual language. The conversation has shifted, in the interim, to focus on resurgent modes of abstract painting, and with it comes greater understanding of Morris’s paintings, which confidently toe the art-historical and the everyday, the “old school/new school,” of abstraction. In her personal manifesto “For Abstractionists and Friends of the Non-Objective” Morris gives ideological heft to the hard-won and unconventionally beautiful visual language that makes her such a singular painter in the field.

Over a series of large, predominantly square canvases on view in the gallery, Morris runs the gamut of painterly techniques, interlocking jig-jag fields of diluted oils, in one work, with a Constructivist-by-way-of-Memphis bravado; and in other paintings, dialing down the painterly excess to let her grids and swarms jitter about on spare grounds. Morris customarily makes her paintings on the floor of her studio atop a canvas working tarp – a method that contributes to the grit and tactility of her surfaces. One such tarp has been repurposed for this show as a backhanded painting, and its accumulated marks and splotches have been stained and set in relief by a thick field of silver spray paint. Though the silver divides the tarp into triangles and polygons, under the aegis of geometric abstraction, the effect is far stranger than expected. Stumbling out of their ideological frame, Morris’s canvases uncover new and fertile routes for abstract painting.

Rebecca Morris was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She received her BA from Smith College and her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Morris was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has also received awards from the Tiffany Foundation, The Durfee Foundation, Art Matters, and the Illinois Arts Council. She has had solo exhibitions at The Renaissance Society, Chicago and The Santa Monica Museum of Art. Group exhibitions include The Kunstmuseum, St. Gallen, Switzerland; The Hessel Art Museum, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis; and Participant Inc., New York.
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