Elements of Earth:
The Paintings of Gail Morris
The paintings of Gail Morris present a unique vision of the American Landscape. They range from representational to gestural to color field. Each painting stands as a point on a continuous spectrum that presents a varied and yet cohesive body of work. Morris’s paintings capture an emotional truth about the world she sees around her and reflect the beauty of that world. This second art book highlights a move from expansive rural vistas to confined urban port areas and continues her exploration of what constitutes a landscape panting.
Every painting starts with a real location, then a horizon line, then the introduction of the underlying geometry of the place. Then layers of underpainting are used to create added to emphasis the symmetry and balanced of these calm isolated landscapes. Her flatness of the perception creates a tension where the sky pushes down into the earth, rather than vanishing into the horizon. Water elements are often present, leading the eye diagonally through the canvas. The simplicity is deceptive. There is a shimmering resonance and depth in every painting and a resolved tension that remains below the surface. It is this balanced that makes these canvases so interesting. The more you look, the more they reveal.
But while the bold compositions and sophisticated colors of her paintings catch the eye and draw the viewer in, the soul of her paintings go beyond form and style. Her work captures a true emotional sense of place. Morris’s use of color, line and composition combine with one another to evoke a tranquil familiarity, perhaps the thread of a memory. It is as if we have been to these places, even if we never have. In this ability to simultaneously stimulate the eye and calm the heart, the paintings of Gail Morris capture a perfect moment of stillness and connect us to the beauty of the world she sees around her.
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