Los Angeles

Carl Morris

Feingarten Gallery

Many writers have solemnized a union in Carl Morris’ paintings, of Northwestern America’s topography and the no-time men­tal state of Oriental wisdom literature. Certainly he agglomerates chunky com­ponents into images readable as land­scape. Yet for all their massivity and wedging, an intrinsic emptiness is lodged at the core of the images. The hollowness palpable within the experi­ence of these works mocks the painter’s pastiche of monumentality. This is be­cause Morris directs his art toward the apparent rather than the essential and functional. He seems oblivious of the Chinese maxim: “Idea present; brush may be spared performance.” His drib­bles, textural graining and matrix ef­fects are handsome but they have been achieved prematurely. Perhaps in Im­plosion or Light Bole if Morris had intuited more clearly the nature of sucked or cubbyholed energy, he would have resisted the temptation to splat­ter and ridge grandiose facades. Recog­nizing the reality of form-giving cause is so vivid an encounter that it would restrain even Action Regionalism.

Rosalind G. Wholden