The exhibition titled JIM MORPHESIS: Wounds of Existence debuts at the Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA) on January 25th and runs until May 31st, 2015.
A press release concerning the exhibit can be found below.
Pasadena, CA — The Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA) is pleased to present JIM MORPHESIS: Wounds of Existence, an exhibition that examines the impressive oeuvre of one of the most influential members of the Neo- Expressionist art movement in Los Angeles. Taking its title from what Friedrich Nietzsche called "The Eternal Wounds of Existence," the exhibition includes works spanning the past four decades. Like the work of Francis Bacon or Jean Dubuffet, Morphesis's work examines the profound predicaments of human life and reflects the artist's deep concern with the dehumanization of society over this and the last century.
Morphesis most often works serially on images and themes as varied as the Passion of Christ (influenced by his Eastern Orthodox heritage), nude torsos (inspired by Rembrandt and Soutine) and universal symbols of mortality such as skulls and roses. After a period of working abstractly, Morphesis turned to more specific religious iconography, encouraged by his Greek Orthodox upbringing in his native Philadelphia. He captures the Crucifixion through repeated images on panels layered with paint, charcoal, slabs of wood, fabric, cardboard, gold leaf, scrawled words and phrases, building the surfaces until the paintings appear as low reliefs. Morphesis's paintings of the Passion are grounded in art history—sharing aspects of the Velasquez Christ on the Cross and Giovanni Bellini's Pieta—but are made undeniably modern by his sensuous, textured surfaces.
Following the Passion series, Morphesis explored universal symbols of mortality through his paintings of skulls often juxtaposed with self–portraits or found objects. Many of his works, including his massive fleshy paintings of male and female torsos, are both beautiful and ominous. His most recent series of brilliant red roses in full bloom echo this abiding concern with mortality, their beauty made much more vibrant by the inevitability of tomorrow's wilt. The exhibition is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art and is curated by Peter Selz, Ph.D., and accompanied by a brochure.