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Morris Graves: Toward Ultimate Reality

March 11 – May 1, 1999


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This exhibition consists of fifteen works executed in ink, watercolor or tempera on paper, with subjects derived from nature which include fauna, birds, snakes, fruit and fish. Throughout his career, Morris Graves has used the images of nature as visual metaphors for the mysteries of life, or as he describes, "the inner eye".

Morris Graves, born and raised in Fox Valley, Oregon, lived the majority of his life in the Pacific Northwest. A self-taught artist devoted to the practice of Zen, Graves pursued an independent artistic vision, leaving him on the periphery of mainstream American modernism. Influenced by Surrealism, Carl Jung’s theories of the collective unconscious, and Eastern philosophy, Graves had his first solo exhibition in 1936 at The Seattle Art Museum in Seattle, Washington. Although linked to the Northwest School of Visionary Art with artists Mark Tobey, Guy Anderson and Kenneth Callahan, Graves’s works

stand very much alone. In 1942, thirty Morris Graves works were featured in the exhibition, Americans 1942: 18 Artists from 9 States, at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, establishing his national reputation for spiritual and meditative statements.

Morris Graves is represented in prestigious museum collections, including The Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Phillips Collection, Seattle Art Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

To learn more about Morris Graves, please visit our Artists section.