Morris Graves: Paintings and Drawings between 1931 and 1996
Morris Graves is one of the first great Modern artists from the Northwest to be recognized nationally, and is often associated with artists of the Northwest School.
Born in Fox Valley Oregon in 1910, Graves spent his childhood in Oregon and Washington. He was intensely fascinated in nature, particularly birds and plants. He felt a deeply spiritual attachment to the natural world that remained an integral part of his life.
This show features works consigned from the Morris Graves Foundation. They encompass the artist’s total productive life, from drawings for his high school yearbook in 1931 to a piece from his final series of paintings. They range from annotated sketches of birds to large format multimedia works, with several works being shown publicly for the first time. They present a visual guide to the life and career of this intensely private artist of national renown.
His mid-career works were influenced by East Asian philosophy and mysticism, which he used it as a way of approaching nature directly, avoiding theory. Graves adopted certain elements of Chinese and Japanese art, including the use of thin paper and ink drawing. His painted birds, pine trees, and waves. Graves works, such as "Blind Bird" often contain elements of Mark Tobey, who was inspired by Asian calligraphy. Graves switched from oils to gouaches, his bird became psychedelic, mystic, en route to transcendence. The paintings were bold, applied in a thick impasto with a palette knife, sometimes on coarse feed sacks