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Robert Morris. Small Fires and Mnemonic Nights    Jan 28 - Mar 19, 2005

Canvas Back
Robert Morris
Canvas Back, 2003-2004
 
  
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LEO CASTELLI GALLERY 18 EAST 77TH ST. NEW YORK NY 10021

Robert Morris. Small Fires and Mnemonic Nights
January 28 – March 19, 2005

Small Fires and Mnemonic Nights is an exhibition of new paintings by Robert Morris. The paintings are realized in encaustic on wood panel and measure approximately 30 x 40 inches. They depict interiors of houses, public spaces such as a station or a gymnasium, as well as domestic landscapes. The images are from the past, the 30’s and 40’s, and they are permeated by an atmosphere reminiscent of Edward Hopper.

While being figurative, but without figures, these paintings are not about representation, but they rather make visible a world where reality is mixed with images from memory and fantasies. Several paintings are set at nighttime with bright lights from the street (maybe from cars passing) illuminating the interiors. Small fires, and a military tank in one painting suggest that there is a war, but one doesn’t know how real it is. Sharp contrasts of light and dark tend to predominate in these works.

Robert Morris was a founding member of minimal art in the 1960s. Over the years since then he has consistently renovated his art with new ideas and exploratory methods. The new paintings continue the artist’s long-standing theme of memory, but their small format, skewed perspectives, and ambiguous, nocturnal spaces move them away from his previous encaustic works of the ‘80s and ‘90s. The works in this exhibition, resonating as the do to a 1940s American war time, tie them to our present moment in uncanny ways.

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