DC -- American University -- Katzen Arts Center -- 2019C Summer Exhibit: Passages: Keith Morrison, 1999-2019:
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Description of Pictures: Passages: Keith Morrison, 1999-2019
June 15-August 11, 2019
Curated by Judith Stein
Passages: Keith Morrison, 1999-2019 surveys thirty paintings and watercolors by the Jamaican-born Keith Morrison. A magician of color and space and a teller of tales, fanciful and real, Morrison focuses on the tangible and spiritual components of culture. His subjects encompass Afro-Caribbean and Meso-American art and architecture, as well as the somber history of the Middle Passage. By turns mystical, meditative and joyous, Morrison’s work invites our entry into the rich visual world of his making.
Morrison was seventeen in 1959 when he moved to the United States to study art at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago, where he would earn his bachelor's and master's degrees in art. His early paintings were black and white abstractions, influenced by the prevailing expressionist style of his teachers, and by his admiration for Ellsworth Kelly’s crisp, non-representational forms, and Richard Diebenkorn’s lyrical geometry.
Morrison enjoyed a successful career as an abstract painter for twenty years, all the while thinking about how his art might more directly engage his African and Caribbean heritage. In the eighties, his practice shifted to narrative imagery, a direction he continues to explore with diverse subjects. These enigmatic, figural compositions range from imaginative recreations of his Jamaican boyhood, fanciful tributes to legendary jazz musicians, and meditations on hoodie-clad youth.
Exactly four hundred years ago, the first African slaves arrived in the colonies a year before the Mayflower brought the pilgrims. Many of Morrison’s paintings transport us back in time to the moments before embarkation. Calling on his formidable power as an abstract painter, the artist delineates cramped, empty spaces with restricted vistas framed by windows and bars. Morrison situates himself—and by extension, we as viewers—looking out as one world closes, and another opens.
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Specific picture descriptions: Photos above with "i" icons next to the bracketed sequence numbers (e.g. " ") are described as follows:
KATPAS_190614_001.JPG: Passages: Keith Morrison 1999-2019
KATPAS_190614_006.JPG: Queen Nanny of the Maroons, 2018
KATPAS_190614_011.JPG: The Tango, 2010
KATPAS_190614_021.JPG: Kingdom of the Loa, 2018
KATPAS_190614_029.JPG: Katrina, 2008
KATPAS_190614_038.JPG: Other Gods, 2018
KATPAS_190614_042.JPG: A Caravan for Ouidah, 2018
KATPAS_190614_049.JPG: Transcendence, 2019
KATPAS_190614_056.JPG: African Tango, 2000
KATPAS_190614_059.JPG: Market II, 2005
KATPAS_190614_072.JPG: Chacmool, 1999
KATPAS_190614_075.JPG: Passages: Keith Morrison 1999-2019
Curated by Judith Stein
KATPAS_190614_077.JPG: Boyz, 2014
KATPAS_190614_083.JPG: Free For All, 2018
KATPAS_190614_090.JPG: Monument of Spirits, 2017
KATPAS_190614_094.JPG: Songs of Our Fathers, 2012
KATPAS_190614_099.JPG: Door of No Return I, 2015
KATPAS_190614_113.JPG: Door of No Return II, 2015
KATPAS_190614_117.JPG: Door of No Return IV: Predators, 2015
KATPAS_190614_121.JPG: The Magic Fountain, 2012
KATPAS_190614_125.JPG: Door of No Return VI: Rule, Britannia!, 2016
KATPAS_190614_132.JPG: Scenes of Childhood, 2011
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