Weekly Update – Quentin Morris at Larry Becker

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This week’s Weekly has my editor’s choice review of Quentin Morris‘s show at Larry Becker Contemporary Art. Below is the copy with a few pictures.

Untitled (October 2005), 2005 Black gesso and acrylic painting mediums on canvas; ca. 72” diameter and through the doorway is Untitled (July 2006), 2006 Black gesso and acrylic painting mediums on canvas; ca. 72” diameter. Photo courtesy of the gallery.
Untitled (October 2005), 2005 Black gesso and acrylic painting mediums on canvas; ca. 72” diameter and through the doorway is Untitled (July 2006), 2006 Black gesso and acrylic painting mediums on canvas; ca. 72” diameter. Photo courtesy of the gallery.

Quentin Morris’ all-black circle paintings look like portals into another dimension. Spaced at regular intervals, the unframed 72-inch canvases are pinned to the walls, and their regularity and blackness evoke the night sky seen through the portholes of a ship. The nine untitled paintings are body-sized. (Think of Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man, whose body lies within a circle within a square.) But unlike Vitruvian Man, which is about perfection, Morris’ works—drawn and cut freehand—are about the imperfections that add up to a greater whole. Even imperfection can be beautiful and satisfying. To encounter Morris’ paintings up close is to be engulfed by their darkness. The quiet purity of the single color and the subtle surface texture throws you into a reverie. The works by this African-American artist are fueled by the color black’s association with the hated, the feared and the negative—black holes, black rage, black magic. By empowering the color with his beautiful work, Morris is of course introducing the metaphor of racial empowerment. But the works come from a spiritual place as well.

Quentin Morris
Quentin Morris in his studio, Phila., PA on March 28, 2007. Photo courtesy of the gallery.

Quentin Morris: “Paintings and Drawings”
Through May 19. Larry Becker Contemporary Art, 43 N. Second St. 215.925.5389

Tags

larry becker contemporary art, quentin morris

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