Garboushian Gallery is pleased to present the first exhibition of 2017, Jim Morphesis: Selected Works 1974 – 2016, featuring important works by the Los Angeles legacy, Jim Morphesis. Spanning more than four decades, this exhibition will highlight significant artwork representing various phases and styles from Morphesis’ long career. An opening reception will be held on January 21st from 7-9pm.
Recognized as one of the most influential members of the Neo-Expressionist art movement in Los Angeles, Jim Morphesis has been a longstanding staple in the Southern California art scene. While Morphesis’ significance to Neo-Expressionism has been vital to the history of the movement, the artist’s oeuvre transcends any one style. In all of his paintings, Morphesis probes the predicaments of human life and reflects the artist’s deep concern with the dehumanization of society over this and the last century.
Strongly influenced by his Greek Orthodox heritage, Morphesis creates deeply personal works of art, often utilizing religious iconography or mythological themes. His work is imbued with a dark and lamenting energy. No matter the style or decade, Morphesis is enthralled with mythology, history, symbolism, tragedy and mortality. Over the years, Morphesis wears different lenses to see and create his own world, but with every lens comes a clear and honest finality, heavy with purpose and meaning on every level, interweaving his meanings to where form and content become one.
Featured in this exhibition are rarely seen abstract paintings from the 1970s. These works are both formal and expressive with thick crusty surfaces made of rhoplex and metallic pigments. By the early 1980s, Morphesis, inspired by art history, created paintings that employed images of the Crucifixion painted, with great gestures, over surfaces heavily constructed with wood, nails and fabric. Through the 1980’s, Morphesis’ Neo-Expressionist period, mythological and biblical characters served as formats for life’s daily struggles. Paintings from this period will be represented in this exhibition.
Morphesis’ male and female torsos from the 1990’s have been described as physically exuberant and tragic. The same can be said of the Marsyas series begun at the beginning of the new millennium, and inspired by the Greek satyr whom Apollo flayed alive. In this exhibition, a large fleshy and abstracted carcass, heavily worked with numerous materials, will represent this group of paintings. In a more recent series, Morphesis has painted sensual and corporeal red roses that allude to the human body; it’s beauty and mortality.
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