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Rebecca Morris

Paintings 1996-2005


2005, 87 pages, 39 color illus., paperback
ISBN 0-9-41548-49-x
Members: $24.00

  Essays by Diedrich Diederichsen and Stephen Westfall

If the closure of Modernist painting is taken as the closure of painting itself, then under the aegis of postmodernism, painting?s history is a finite collection of fully legible styles up for being quoted. In this circumstance, the question arises of whether there exists such a thing as an abstract painting. Judging from Morris?s work, the answer is a resounding "Yes!" Her shapes, lines, colors, gestures, and surfaces function as an Ur or proto language of abstraction in which one can discern the compositional logic of Stella?s black paintings, an isolated Pollock-like splatter, or a Hoffmanesque approach to the juxtaposition of color. One might also discern in her visual lexicon fake rock architectural surfaces, thrift-store sweaters, glitter and sequins, cheap wood veneer, and spray paint galore. Despite what this list might imply, instead of conflating abstraction with pop design or cynical gestural emptiness, Morris uses the glitter, the spray paint, and the bold colors to create abstract paintings that revel in their historical position in today?s world. They are the paintings on the wall. For Morris, abstraction has nothing to mourn or redeem, nothing to prove.

This catalogue, the first monograph on Morris?s work, contains essays by Diedrich Diederichsen and Stephen Westfall. Westfall examines Morris?s relationship to contemporary urban material culture, tracing the redemptive transformation of the cheap, grimy and gauche that occurs in her paintings. Diederichsen locates the place of Morris?s work within the rocky history of abstract painting, concluding ultimately that Morris?s practice points out a way around the polarization of modernism?s and postmodernism?s constructions of the genre.

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