Rebecca Morris: Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series

Tuesday, October 03

6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. CDT

Fullerton Hall, Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave

Installation view of Rebecca Morris: 2001–2022, Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California, October 1, 2022 — January 15, 2023. Photo: Jeff McLane/ICA LA. Courtesy of Regen Projects, Los Angeles.Installation view of Rebecca Morris: 2001–2022, Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California, October 1, 2022 — January 15, 2023. Photo: Jeff McLane/ICA LA. Courtesy of Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

Join us for a lecture by artist Rebecca Morris followed by an audience Q&A.

Doors open at 5:45 p.m. Free and open to the public. Registration is not required. Explore the Visiting Artists Program homepage for visitor information, recordings of past events, and more.

Rebecca Morris (Post-Bacc 1992, MFA 1994) has dedicated her 30-year career to the exploration of abstraction. Her work has taken basic elements like stroke, surface, and frame to question the underlying pretenses of abstract painting, exposing the tensions between the flat surface of the work and the painting as a discrete object. Recurring motifs such as fragmented patterns and distorted grids further complicate her work against the larger history of conceptual artists that have used precise geometry to delineate visual space. Variously associated with the schools of Pattern and Decoration and Supports/Surfaces, Morris’s work has steadfastly refused placement into one clear category or movement.

In her practice, Morris often thins oil paint to the extent that it resembles watercolor. By repeating concerted, expressive brush marks across subtle, consistent grounds, she creates patterns that evoke soil samples, bacterial cultures, aerial landscapes, or the glyphs and syntax of an as-yet-undiscovered language. In some works, Morris divides these mottled autonomous expanses of charcoal, ochre, azure, and purple with sturdy grids and frames composed entirely of silver and gold enamel spray paint. Many of her paintings feature variations on a jagged, irregular motif that she refers to as the “lobster claw.” More than all other colors, Morris reveres red, having set for herself the goal of painting “the ultimate red painting.”

Morris is the subject of a solo exhibition opening September 30, 2023-April 4, 2024 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The show, curated by Jamillah James, is traveling from the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and looks at the past 21 years of Morris’s practice. Other significant shows include the Blaffer Art Museum, Houston (2019); Bonnefanten museum, Maastricht, Netherlands (2014); The Renaissance Society, Chicago (2005); and 356 Mission and LAXART in Los Angeles. Morris’s work has been included in group shows at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus (2018); the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2016); and the Whitney Biennial, New York (2014). Her work is in various public collections, including The Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Cleveland Museum of Art; Sammlung Goetz, Munich, Germany; Bonnefanten museum, Maastricht, Netherlands; and the DePaul Art Museum, Chicago. She is the recipient of awards and fellowships from The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Art, and the Art Matters Foundation, among others.

Presented in partnership with SAIC Alumni Engagement.

This event will be live captioned by Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) services. The auditorium is wheelchair accessible and hearing assisted devices are available. For additional access requests, including ASL interpretation or audio description, visit saic.edu/access.