Recent Artwork by Kelly B. Morris
Curated by Jose Vargas
September 4-October 2, 2021
Meet the Artist: Saturday, September 4, 2021 (6-8 PM) – Featuring a live jazz performance by Percussion Things
It has been said that some environments can affect the work of artists in certain ways. That seems to be true for artist Kelly B. Morris. In addition to other aspects of his personal experiences, the places where the artist has lived and worked have influenced and informed the way that he creates art. Kelly’s roles in various creative endeavors in New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Europe, and Mexico that included teaching art, woodworking, consulting, participating in art residencies, and managing art galleries, have undeniably enriched his artistic perspective and process.
Kelly’s collages, drawing and paintings are the result of a truly spellbinding fusion of themes, styles, and genres that come from a multitude of sources. In his carefully crafted pieces, the artist demonstrates a high level of craftsmanship, a solid knowledge of various topics, a multiplicity of subject matter, and a vivid imagination. In Kelly’s work, the viewer can see an interweaving of symbols, aesthetics, and narratives that, although not immediately associated with each other, create a stimulating and powerful depiction of a concordant idea. The artist’s work must be deciphered at times, but the task of doing so is quite rewarding as we begin to discover familiar references and meaning in his imagery. It is possible that his time in the Southwestern United States sparked the impulse to include images of nuclear power, war machines, space exploration, alien life, and science. It is also possible that Mexico inspired his Day of the Dead pieces and his works that reimagine pre-Columbian mythology, or that the abundant multinational figures in his work reflect his journey to other countries and his interest and admiration for other cultures.
Before moving to Grandview, Texas, to teach art, Kelly was the owner and operator of Redpilot Gallery in Questa, New Mexico. In Texas, the artist has exhibited at the Bath House Cultural Center, Oak Cliff Cultural Center, and Mary Tomas Gallery in Dallas and at Art for the People Gallery in Austin. He has also exhibited his work at Sonia Zaks Gallery in Chicago, Tucson MOCA, Tucson Puppet Works, and the Museum of Contemporary Art/Hamzat Gallery, in Tucson. He was also a finalist of the esteemed Huntington Art Prize and was awarded the Process Space Artist Residency in Balchik, Bulgaria, and the Artist Residency at the International Art Center, Tucson, Arizona. Kelly earned a BFA and an MFA degree in painting and drawing in New Mexico and Arizona.