Carl Morris: Figure, Word, & Light 2018-02-15T22:51:11+00:00

Carl Morris: Figure, Word, & Light

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Carl Morris: Figure, Word, & Light

Carl Morris (1911–1993) had a long and illustrious career, and his work has been the subject of several museum exhibitions. Prudence Roberts, guest curator of the Marylhurst exhibition, has a deep interest in the history of the art of the Pacific Northwest. In this exhibition, Roberts examines the work painter Morris made partly in response to the second World War. Prudence Roberts is an art historian and curator, and a member of the faculty of Portland Community College, Rock Creek Campus.

During the 1940s and 1950s, American artists grappled, intellectually and spiritually, with the impact of World War II: the devastation of Europe and the horrors of the Holocaust and the atom bomb. Morris, along with friends and acquaintances such as Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Mark Tobey, sought to make art that reflected this momentous history and the frightening new world that lay on the other side of the war. This exhibition, and its accompanying essay, explores Morris’s responses to his times by focusing on his use of the figure, either fully rendered or merely suggested; his references to word — as calligraphic sgraffito, as tablet or as text — and his frequent images of light as a source of creation or salvation. The exhibition includes more than 50 of Morris’s paintings from the 1930s to the mid-1960s, all drawn from Portland collections.

Curated by: Prudence Roberts

On view: January 13 – February 13, 2008

Leonard Ruder: Evidence of a Life’s Work

Two years ago, Leonard Ruder’s art came to the attention of Silas Cook, assistant director of The D.F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery at Reed College. Cook has curated an overview of Ruder’s paintings and drawings for the Art Gym. The show includes Ruder’s early focus on abstracted architectural and landscape motifs, tracks the work as the artist quickly moved to non-objective abstraction, and demonstrates the artist’s formal prowess and constant experimentation.

Leonard Ruder has made art for more than 50 years. After he graduated from the Cranbrook Academy in 1950, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston included his work in a national traveling exhibition. Ruder moved to Portland in 1950, and the Portland Art Museum presented his art alongside works by Louis Bunce and Carl Morris in several Oregon Annuals in the 1950s. Over the ensuing decades, Bunce and Morris gained public renown, while Ruder worked quietly in the studio and supported his family as a Portland Public Schools custodian. He regularly sold work through the museum’s Rental Sales Gallery, but rarely exhibited elsewhere. The Art Gym is pleased to help bring these intriguing works by a little known, dedicated, and accomplished artist to the public’s attention.

Curated by: Silas Cook

On view: January 13 – February 13, 2008