Morris Louis Visual Description .pdf
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Art Matters 100.5, Rael Jero Salley
Aug 31st, 2017
Morris Louis (1912-1962)
“Alpha Eta”, 1960, Acrylic Resin on Canvas
Nine varied disjointed colored spills stretch across an off white canvas
gargantuan in size dominating the wall and the viewer's field of view even at a distance.
Each spills sprawls diagonally to the left from the top, some linear and unbroken, others
separated by a small gap before continuing on their path. Of the nine spills three are
disjointed at various points, the ends forming rounded bulb like tails that seem to lean
across to their partner separated by an inch or two. One might be inclined to interpret
these separations as two bone joints striped of ligaments or perhaps flower bulbs not
yet come springtime waiting to open. Surrounding each spill is a halo slightly darker
than the light tan canvas, a buffer for the color to diffuse into before meeting the
expanse of the open space they pass through. It’s subtle almost like a water spill on a
white shirt given a few minutes to dry but not entirely.
The lines are composed of four colors, diluted jungle green, dim tangerine
orange, splotchy sky blue, and watered down indigo. They tie closely to the light tan
canvas a smooth set of analogous pastel tones. The work seems to invoke a sense of
disjointed serenity, relaxation broken by asymmetry before collapsing back into itself
again. This is a common theme with a large amount of Morris’s work in this time, color
choices, composition and layout of pieces.