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Academy Presents Work by Alumnus Quentin Morris

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- Philadelphia artist Quentin Morris began creating monochromatic black paintings and drawings almost 40 years ago as a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, which will display his work Dec. 11, 2004 through Feb. 13, 2005. The exhibition will be in the Morris Gallery for contemporary art.

Morris' installation is the final exhibition to open before the Academy's 200th Anniversary Celebration begins on Jan. 11, 2005. Morris will paint the Morris Gallery a variety of shades and sheens of black, and install a series of circular paintings on canvas made over the past 10 years. This gesture represents a new direction in Morris' artistic development, as he ventures outside the boundaries of canvas and paper into the realm of installation. In creating this all-encompassing environment, Morris intends to expand the contemplative aspects of his painting outward, converting the gallery into a chapel or spiritual space.

Morris explains in his artist statement: "I began exploring monochromatic painting . . . exclusively black using a myriad of tonalities and textures to present black's intrinsically enigmatic beauty and infinite depth, to refute all negative cultural mythologies about the color, and ultimately, to create work that innately expresses the all encompassing spirituality of life."

In the foyer outside the Morris Gallery, four large paintings on irregular rectangular sheets of paper will offer viewers further insight into Morris' rich, wide-ranging approach to making art with a black palette.

Morris applies graphite, powdered pigment, crayon, spraypaint, ink, and acrylic to a variety of surfaces including found paper, Mylar, canvas and linen. His work hangs unframed and unstretched-the drawings are often anchored to the gallery wall only at the top corners, curling and floating on the current of air as visitors pass by.

The density and volume of applied media provide a rich visual experience in which the irregularities of medium, support and application play off of one another. Morris' drawing method, applying media to paper resting on the floor of his studio, allows chance patterning and mottled imperfection as the works pick up surface textures of the concrete floor underneath.

Quentin Morris has been featured in many exhibitions in the Philadelphia area, including the African-American Museum, Arcadia University Art Gallery, Larry Becker Contemporary Art, Brandywine Workshop, Moore College of Art and Design, Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia Art Alliance, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Elsewhere, Morris has shown at the Chicago Cultural Center; the Drawing Center, N.Y.; Emory Museum of Art and Archaeology, Atlanta; Gray Gallery at East Carolina State University, Greenville, N.C.; and Museo de Arte Contemporaria, Recife, Brazil, among others.

The Quentin Morris exhibition and renovations to the Academy's contemporary Morris Gallery are made possible through the generous support of The William Penn Foundation. Additional renovations to the Academy's historic landmark building are funded by a grant from the Richard C. von Hess Foundation.

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