Gallery News & Events
9 September through 29 October 2005
Reception: Friday 9 September 7-9 pm
Jan Baum Gallery proudly presents a solo exhibition of new paintings by Jim Morphesis. A solo exhibition by Jim has not been seen for a number of years and thus, the enthusiastic art world will indeed welcome and applaud this new viewing. The Artist says of this body of work: Jim Morphesis: Artist Statement Like all of the work that I have done for the most of the past three decades, the paintings that compromise my first solo exhibition at Jan Baum Gallery, entitled CUTS, represent life, death, man’s heroics and limitations and the consideration that we are all a part of a continuum. Most of my work has been figurative and while these paintings also deal with images of flesh and bones; they also represent a departure for me, something new. Much of this exhibition will be filled with large mixed media paintings of great carcasses of beef, models right out of the Chelsea meat market. Some years ago, inspired by the meat packing business below my then studio in New York and encouraged by two Rembrandt paintings and several by Soutine, all of which directly related to the cruciform compositions that I was doing at the time. I completed a small series of abstracted meat images. A few years ago, a painting by Titian, depicting the fate of the mythological satyr-god, Marsyas, had me enthusiastic about returning to the images of the beef. I always saw these carcasses as both noble and abject, symbolic of our own strengths and frailties. In some of the most recent paintings, in a subliminal manner, I have combined human anatomical images with the animal forms. Again, in the newest works, an occasional floral image may appear emanating from the more abstracted masses of painted flesh. These images, which revealed themselves to me through scrapes and brush strokes, serve as both memento mori and a reminder that from one life comes another. My painting process, a physical one, creates its own images and stories. Marks and colors, thickly applied with a variety of mediums and techniques, both representational and expressionist (I think my work pays homage to both the traditions of the Renaissance and the New York School), have been scraped down revealing unexpected images. No finished painting in this series has matched my initial vision. The latest works have become, unexpectedly, more colorful and animated than earlier paintings in the series. Of course, these meat images represent a cutting away and the revealing of an enigmatic cavity, a wound that the viewer will relate to in his or her own way. It is often a painful endeavor. In the end, it is not important to have these works read in a literal manner. I hope my art will be experienced as beautiful and powerful.