The Expressionism of Dick Morrill
Eighty-something Dick Morrill makes narrative paintings, portraits and bas reliefs, capturing in highly charged images the spectacle of social folly and vagaries of the personality. His work both critiques power relations, and examines the inner lives of individuals. Using bold colors and fractured forms, Morrill in his art is both an expressionist and a humanist.
Throughout his art school years and long career, Morrill has been exposed to, and influenced by, the social realism of Boston Expressionism, the color-infused paintings of Georges Rouault and Oscar Kokoshka., and the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. A major influence in Morrill’s work has been that of German Expressionist Max Beckmann.
During the 1950s and 1960s Morrill created a series of sculptures of abstracted figures in carved wood, cold cast metal and paper mache. In the mid-‘60s, influenced by the Vietnam War, Morrill began working on politically-charged images. With these paintings, the artist saw his mission to “question authority”, and started the complex, narrative paintings that are the focus of his ongoing practice. In the 1990s Morrill entered a new phase with his painted portraits and the parallel sculpted bas reliefs. These works combine the social self with an examination of the private self, as revealed in faces with a complex, faceted topography.
After moving to New York in the early 1950s, Morrill worked for an advertising design firm before founding his own agency representing illustrators and photographers. For most of his working career, he managed to work in his studio whenever possible. He also taught at Pratt Institute and Parsons School of Design, and established several overseas art programs through the State University of New York
The Expressionism of Dick Morrill is organized by Katharine T. Carter & Associates of New York and is funded through the Community Challenge Grant (Danville). It is sponsored in part by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
After the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History, the exhibit will travel to The Lawrence Gallery, Rosemont College, Rosemont, PA, the Anderson Center For the Arts, IN. and the University Museum, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
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