Margaret Morrison

United States 1960

Painting, Figurative Art

Margaret Morrison
Margaret Morrison
United States
September 30, 2015
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Margaret Morrison is an American artist and art professor, best known for her paintings which fuse together still life, elements from figurative art and subjects of surrealism. She is also known for her realistic paintings of brightly-colored candies and toys. Critically acclaimed, her works were featured in numerous publications and on television.

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Margaret Morrison – Hear No Evil, 2012 (Left) / See No Evil, 2012 (Right)

Training at the University of Utah and Tenure

The youngest of six daughters, Margaret was born on January 21, 1960, in Utah. She received her training from the University of Utah, graduating in 1981 when she obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Seven years later, in 1988, she got her Master of Fine Arts degree from the same institution. During her developmental years, the artist resided in the Philippines and had visited numerous countries in Europe and the Orient in search of inspiration. Since 1995, she has been represented by Woodward Gallery in New York, and the majority of her shows, both one-person and group, were organized by them. She currently works as a professor at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, at the University of Georgia, where she teaches painting and drawing.

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Margaret Morrison – Loop 10, 2015 (left) / 33rd South, 2015 (right)

Figurative Paintings and Surrealism

A man in a ghostly white lab coat is a recurrent subject of her figurative paintings. Morrison depicts many levels of flight allegories because she sees flight as the ultimate metaphor for life – a metaphor that is encoded into this mysterious white man. Over the years, the characters in her paintings grew up, delving into their natures and trying to understand what lies ahead. The white lab coat became a symbol of self-awareness. In her work called Patron Saints and Rituals from 2005, she included her first encounters with the history of art. These paintings perfectly capture the world where religious symbols, ancient rituals and the worries of the modern world are intertwined.

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Margaret Morrison – Saint Cecelia – 2005 (Left) / Studio Table, 1998 (Right)

Larger Than Life

In 2008, the artist was diagnosed with cancer. The fact that she knew her life was endangered, made her change the subjects of her paintings. She substituted the somber and gloomy palette with bright and cheerful colors. In 2009, she dedicated an exhibition to life. Larger Than Life was held at Woodward Gallery. The imagery she chose served her as both psychological and physical therapy. Large-scale paintings depicted Twinkies, Gummy worms, cupcakes and other sugary delights.

The Utah-born artist combines liquid with her paint, resulting in a seamless series of hidden brush strokes; eventually utilizing a glazing process which achieves and effect that takes realism a step further. It’s almost as if the viewer is experiencing a high definition medium. From afar, her paintings don’t appear as paintings but form up-close, intentional, obvious brush strokes add highlights and depth. Managing to capture this illusion is what sets the artist apart from many other realists. The works are multi-dimensional, revealing more subtleties the more one views. Her innovative use of light schemes lights up the surroundings. Shadows are rendered through the translucent nature of the gummy worms, so these shadows are multicolored mirror images. A master of the translucent, her painting Candy Jar amazes in the way the light hits the Mason jar and how the glass morphs the candies.

Morrison’s paintings often depict Twinkies, Gummy worms, cupcakes and other sugary delights

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Margaret Morrison – Gummy Centipedes, 2008 (left) / Gummy Worms, 2007 (right)

Child’s Play

The 2012 exhibition titled Child’s Play, organized by Woodward Gallery, was another success for the artist. In it, the Georgia-based artist presented her paintings which described every child’s world of imagination, with huge toys, enormous robots and life-sized dolls. This was her second series of larger than life, color-exploding paintings. This series accentuates the artist’s ability and skill to inhale life and stories in her still life images. The stories are the same as they were when we were children, except this time, we see them differently, through the prism of our adult experiences.

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Margaret Morrison – Encounter #1, 2012 (left) / Trojan Horse, 2010 (right)

Mediative Look at the Horizont

Best known for her detailed still-life and surreal figurative paintings often depicting sweet treats and toys that send our mind back to childhood, Morrison’s figurative imagery is expertly lit to invoke a foreshadowing element to the composition. In recent years, she created a number of paintings that present driver’s point of view and the act of driving a car a sort of meditation. With their atmosphere of sunset, Morrison’s highways are a vacation for the weary mind, body and soul.

Margaret Morrison lives and works in Athens, Georgia.

Featured image: Margaret Morrison – Wax Lips, 2008
All images copyright © the artist and Woodward Gallery

YearExhibition TitleMuseum/GallerySolo/Group
2015-2016Margaret Morrison, JMR & Deborah ClaxtonGourmet Garage, Tribeca, New York, NYGroup
2015Both Ways: Margaret Morrison and Susan BreenWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Group
2015UConn Reads: Inspired by the Omnivore’s DilemmaThe William Benton Museum of Art,nUniversity of ConnecticutSolo
2015Woodward Gallery DecadesWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Group
201520in15Woodward Gallery, New York, NY Group
2014Tiny UniverseHotel Indigo, Athens, GA Group
2014Mostra Estate 2014Palazzo Vagnotti, Cortona, ItalyGroup
2014Sur-RealWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Group
2014Butterflies and BloomsArt Gallery at the Rockefeller State Park Preserve, Sleepy Hollow, NY Group
2014Face to Face: Wall to WallYellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT Group
2013DETAILWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Group
2013WishArt Gallery at Hotel Indigo, Athens, GA Group
2012Margaret Morrison: Child’s PlayWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Solo
2012Summer SelectionsWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Group
2011Margaret Morrison Still Life: Breaking New GroundFlinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT Solo
2011Spectacle: Paintings by Margaret MorrisonRoy C Moore Art Gallery, Gainesville State College, Oakwood, GA Solo
2011Still LifeFlinn Gallery, Greenwich Library, Greenwich, CTGroup
2010Margaret Morrison: A SurveyLobby of ICM (International Creative Management Agency), NYSolo
2009Larger Than LifeWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Solo
2008Margaret Morrison: Director’s ChoiceOconee Cultural Arts Foundation, Watkinsville, GA Solo
2008Faculty ExhibitionLamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, GA Group
2008Works on PaperWoodward Gallery at the Park Avenue Armory, New York, NY Group
2007Margaret Morrison: Large Still Life PaintingsWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Solo
2007Free PlayIslip Art Museum, East Islip, NY Group
2007Visual NoiseUniversity Memorial Center (UMC) Art Gallery, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO Group
2006Margaret Morrison: The Power of Observation- a Retrospective of PaintingsUniversity of Georgia, Broad Street Gallery, Athens, GA Solo
2006Gallery Artists ‘06-’07Woodward Gallery, New York, NY Group
2005Margaret Morrison: Patron Saints and RiutalsWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Solo
2005Margaret Morrison: Still Lifesfeatured at Gourmet Garage: Art by the PoundSolo
2005The 5th Annual Benefit of the Community-Word ProjectThe National Arts Club New York, NY Group
2005Write A Beautiful WorldNational Arts Club, New York, NY Group
2005Winter Paper SevenWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Group
2003Margaret Morrison: CentricityWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Solo
2003Paper Invitational VIWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Group
2003Georgia Review ArtistsMercury Fine Arts, Athens, GA Group
2002Paper Invitational VWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Group
2001Margaret Morrison STILL, David Febland LIFEWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Solo
2001Paper Invitational IVWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Group
2001Hit and Run 2001Woodward Gallery, New York, NY Group
2000Margaret Morrison: The Theory of Flight and PaintingWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Solo
2000Paper Invitational IIIWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Group
1999Femalenergy IIWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Group
1999Nature: Outdoors-InsideWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Group
1999Paper Invitational IIWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Group
1998Margaret Morrison: American LifeWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Solo
1998Paper InvitationalWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Group
1997Margaret MorrisonGallery at the Roundabout in Times SquareSolo
1997UnknownPhillips Gallery, Salt Lake City, Utah Group
1996Margaret Morrison: Prophesy PaintingsWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Solo
1996Resounding SilenceReggio Gallery, New York, NY Group
1995FemalenergyWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Group
1995Aesthetic MysticWoodward Gallery, New York, NY Group
1994ArtifactsPleiades Gallery, New York, NY Solo
1994Three ArtistsGallery of Living Artists (Woodward Gallery), New York, NY Group
1993A Moment BeforeMonongalia Art Center, Morgantown, WV Solo
1992Naptime PaintingsAppalachian Gallery, Morgantown, WV Solo
1992ThresholdPleiades Gallery, New York, NY Solo
1991Figurative PaintingsAtrium Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT Group
1991University of Utah Faculty ExhibitUtah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, UT Group
1990New WorkPatrick Gallery, Austin, TX Solo
1989Utah ‘88 Painting and SculptureSalt Lake Art Center, Salt Lake City, UT Group
1988Margaret Morrison-Paintings and DrawingsGittins Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT Solo
1988The Medium Is The MessageBountiful-Davis Art Center, Bountiful, UT Group
1987Works On PaperSalt Lake Art Center, Salt Lake City, UTGroup
1987LeFrandt, Himes, MorrisonDelores Chase Fine Art, Salt Lake City, UT Group
1987National Graduate Drawing ExhibitionAllen Priebe Gallery, Oshkosh, WI Group
1986Works On PaperSalt Lake Art Center, Salt Lake City, UT Solo
1983AAVA Utah Women ArtistsUtah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, UT Group
1982Utah ‘82Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, UT Group