Morris Graves
American, 1910-2001
Collected by major museums
Tate, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Selected exhibitions
Modernism in the Pacific Northwest: The Mythic and the Mystical,
Seattle Art Museum
INsite/INchelsea: The Inaugural Exhibition,
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery

Morris Graves painted surrealistic still-lifes of symbols and objects drawn from nature and Eastern religions. A transcendentalist, Graves eschewed modern, urban conveniences and stylistic trends in favor of a reclusive life and pared-down, metaphysical images. “I paint to evolve a changing language of symbols,” Graves said, “a language with which to remark upon the qualities of our mysterious capacities, which direct us toward ultimate reality.” Graves depicted birds, snakes, moons, flowers, and circles in dream-like arrangements in order to fuse reality, spirituality, and imagination, thereby unlocking new modes of human perception.

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