GEORGE L. K. MORRIS (1905–1975)
Untitled (Abstraction), late 1940s
Gouache on paper, 18 7/8 x 14 3/4 in.
Signed (at lower right):: Morris
Untitled features a tight, mosaic-like network of squares (some plain, others embedded with circles) contained within carefully delineated contours set against a backdrop of radiating color planes that converge on the segmented disc that serves as the focal point of the composition. By altering the sizes of the patches and juxtaposing solid areas of color (blue, black, and white) with subtle greys, tans, and pale pinks, Morris creates a tunnel-like sense of depth while retaining the tension and structural integrity of the two-dimensional picture plane. The artist’s kaleidoscope-like arrangement of planar forms readily brings to mind the words of the critic Frank Getlein, who described the effect as being “somewhat similar to that of looking down the well of a staircase” (Frank Getlein, “Knaths and Morris in Washington,” The New Republic 152 [May 15, 1965], n.p.).