Rebecca Morris

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; Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin; and the Santa Monica Museum of Art. Group exhibitions include Espacio 1414, Santurce, Puerto Rico; 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. Most recently Morris was included in “MAKERS: Women Who Make America,” a landmark digital video and broadcast initiative that aims to become the largest collection of women’s stories captured on video.

Rebecca Morris’s paintings are deeply serious, while raising issues of taste in an almost humorous way; they draw from historical forms and innovations and also are completely new and forward-looking. Deeply invested in painting as a medium, her works are inspired by all craft that responds to the idiosyncrasy of the artist’s hand. Her paintings share a strong underlying composition based on a gridded structure. On this foundation, Morris builds up her flat surface with tightly interlaid geometric shapes in a variety of textures and surface treatments to create pockets of expansiveness. Together these building blocks result in a completely personal language that Morris has developed, with a unique internal logic whose constituent parts are not always readily apparent.

In response to criticisms of abstract painting, Rebecca Morris wrote her manifesto, “For Abstractionists and Friends of the Non-Objective,” as a tongue-in-cheek yet absolutely sincere call to arms for practitioners of the form. This list of missives to herself, her students, and her fellow artists—including “Triangles are your friend”; “Never stop looking at macramé, ceramics, supergraphics and suprematism”; “Perverse formalism is your god”; “Make work that is so secret, so fantastic, so dramatically old school/new school that it looks like it was found in a shed, locked up since the 1940’s”; and “When in doubt, spray paint it gold”—reveals the directness and contradictions characteristic of her work.