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Morris Blackman

SAVE FOR FUTURE USE

July 2022

Selected Works Thumbnails
Abstract Expressionist 001 (Triptych)  98" x 49" ea.  Acrylic

Abstract Expressionist 001 (Triptych)

98" x 49" ea.

Acrylic

Inquire
Abstract Assemblage 012  73.5" x 37.75" x 5.75"  Acrylic

Abstract Assemblage 012

73.5" x 37.75" x 5.75"

Acrylic

Inquire
Abstract Assemblage 024  25.5" x 22.25" x 5.5"  Mixed Media, Acrylic

Abstract Assemblage 024

25.5" x 22.25" x 5.5"

Mixed Media, Acrylic

Inquire
Abstract Assemblage 025  15" x 26" x 16.5"  Mixed Media, Acrylic

Abstract Assemblage 025

15" x 26" x 16.5"

Mixed Media, Acrylic

Inquire
Abstract Assemblage 026  57.25" x 49.5" x 7.75"  Mixed Media, Acrylic

Abstract Assemblage 026

57.25" x 49.5" x 7.75"

Mixed Media, Acrylic

Inquire
Abstract Assemblage 028  65.5" x 37.5" x 29.75"  Mixed Media, Acrylic

Abstract Assemblage 028

65.5" x 37.5" x 29.75"

Mixed Media, Acrylic

Inquire
Abstract Assemblage 092  48" diameter  Acrylic

Abstract Assemblage 092

48" diameter x 16" deep

Mixed Media, Acrylic

Inquire
Abstract Expressionist 053  16" x 12"  Acrylic

Abstract Expressionist 053

16" x 12"

Acrylic

Inquire
Biomorphic Abstract 004  60" x 40"  Acrylic

Biomorphic Abstract 004

60" x 40"

Acrylic

Inquire
Biomorphic Abstract 008  79" x 50"  Acrylic On Panel

Biomorphic Abstract 008

79" x 50"

Acrylic On Panel

Inquire
Biomorphic Abstract 010  66.5" x 46.5" x 3.75"  Acrylic Painted Relief

Biomorphic Abstract 010

66.5" x 46.5" x 3.75"

Acrylic Painted Relief

Inquire
Biomorphic Abstract 014  46.25" x 30.25"  Acrylic

Biomorphic Abstract 014

46.25" x 30.25"

Acrylic

Inquire
Geometric Abstract 006  42" x 61"  Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 006

42" x 61"

Acrylic

Inquire
Geometric Abstract 007  49.5" x 76"  Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 007

49.5" x 76"

Acrylic

Inquire
Geometric Abstract 009  60.5" x 37.5"  Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 009

60.5" x 37.5"

Acrylic

Inquire
Geometric Abstract 011  33" x 44.25"  Mixed Media

Geometric Abstract 011

33" x 44.25"

Mixed Media

Inquire
Geometric Abstract 013  60.75" x 36"  Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 013

60.75" x 36"

Acrylic

Inquire
Geometric Abstract 016  38.5" x 48.25"  Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 016

38.5" x 48.25"

Acrylic

Inquire
Geometric Abstract 017  38.5" x 48.25"  Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 017

38.5" x 48.25"

Acrylic

Inquire
Geometric Abstract 022  38" x 60.25"  Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 022

38" x 60.25"

Acrylic

Inquire
Geometric Abstract 023  38" x 60.25"  Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 023

38" x 60.25"

Acrylic

Inquire
Geometric Abstract 072  60.5" x 96.5"  Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 072

60.5" x 96.5"

Acrylic

Inquire
Geometric Drawing 019  17.25" x 48.75"  Graphite

Geometric Drawing 019

17.25" x 48.75"

Graphite

Inquire
Primary Composition 018  47.75" x 32"  Acrylic

Primary Composition 018

47.75" x 32"

Acrylic

Inquire
Self Portrait 054  14" x 8"  Oil On Canvas

Self Portrait 054 (SOLD)

14" x 8"

Oil On Canvas

Inquire
Small Geometric Abstract 067  10" x 12"  Acrylic

Small Geometric Abstract 067

10" x 12"

Acrylic

Inquire
Small Geometric Abstract 068  10" x 12"  Acrylic

Small Geometric Abstract 068

10" x 12"

Acrylic

Inquire
Study 069  11.25" x 12.25  Ink

Study 069

11.25" x 12.25

Ink

Inquire
Working Drawings 071  21" x 17.25"  Graphite, Ink

Working Drawings 071

21" x 17.25"

Graphite, Ink

Inquire
Abstract Expressionist 001 (Triptych)  98" x 49" ea.  Acrylic

Abstract Expressionist 001 (Triptych)

98" x 49" ea.

Acrylic

Abstract Assemblage 012  73.5" x 37.75" x 5.75"  Acrylic

Abstract Assemblage 012

73.5" x 37.75" x 5.75"

Acrylic

Abstract Assemblage 024  25.5" x 22.25" x 5.5"  Mixed Media, Acrylic

Abstract Assemblage 024

25.5" x 22.25" x 5.5"

Mixed Media, Acrylic

Abstract Assemblage 025  15" x 26" x 16.5"  Mixed Media, Acrylic

Abstract Assemblage 025

15" x 26" x 16.5"

Mixed Media, Acrylic

Abstract Assemblage 026  57.25" x 49.5" x 7.75"  Mixed Media, Acrylic

Abstract Assemblage 026

57.25" x 49.5" x 7.75"

Mixed Media, Acrylic

Abstract Assemblage 028  65.5" x 37.5" x 29.75"  Mixed Media, Acrylic

Abstract Assemblage 028

65.5" x 37.5" x 29.75"

Mixed Media, Acrylic

Abstract Assemblage 092  48" diameter  Acrylic

Abstract Assemblage 092

48" diameter x 16" deep

Mixed Media, Acrylic

Abstract Expressionist 053  16" x 12"  Acrylic

Abstract Expressionist 053

16" x 12"

Acrylic

Biomorphic Abstract 004  60" x 40"  Acrylic

Biomorphic Abstract 004

60" x 40"

Acrylic

Biomorphic Abstract 008  79" x 50"  Acrylic On Panel

Biomorphic Abstract 008

79" x 50"

Acrylic On Panel

Biomorphic Abstract 010  66.5" x 46.5" x 3.75"  Acrylic Painted Relief

Biomorphic Abstract 010

66.5" x 46.5" x 3.75"

Acrylic Painted Relief

Biomorphic Abstract 014  46.25" x 30.25"  Acrylic

Biomorphic Abstract 014

46.25" x 30.25"

Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 006  42" x 61"  Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 006

42" x 61"

Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 007  49.5" x 76"  Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 007

49.5" x 76"

Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 009  60.5" x 37.5"  Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 009

60.5" x 37.5"

Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 011  33" x 44.25"  Mixed Media

Geometric Abstract 011

33" x 44.25"

Mixed Media

Geometric Abstract 013  60.75" x 36"  Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 013

60.75" x 36"

Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 016  38.5" x 48.25"  Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 016

38.5" x 48.25"

Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 017  38.5" x 48.25"  Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 017

38.5" x 48.25"

Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 022  38" x 60.25"  Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 022

38" x 60.25"

Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 023  38" x 60.25"  Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 023

38" x 60.25"

Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 072  60.5" x 96.5"  Acrylic

Geometric Abstract 072

60.5" x 96.5"

Acrylic

Geometric Drawing 019  17.25" x 48.75"  Graphite

Geometric Drawing 019

17.25" x 48.75"

Graphite

Primary Composition 018  47.75" x 32"  Acrylic

Primary Composition 018

47.75" x 32"

Acrylic

Self Portrait 054  14" x 8"  Oil On Canvas

Self Portrait 054 (SOLD)

14" x 8"

Oil On Canvas

Small Geometric Abstract 067  10" x 12"  Acrylic

Small Geometric Abstract 067

10" x 12"

Acrylic

Small Geometric Abstract 068  10" x 12"  Acrylic

Small Geometric Abstract 068

10" x 12"

Acrylic

Study 069  11.25" x 12.25  Ink

Study 069

11.25" x 12.25

Ink

Working Drawings 071  21" x 17.25"  Graphite, Ink

Working Drawings 071

21" x 17.25"

Graphite, Ink

Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to host the first major retrospective of Philadelphia-native Morris Blackman.

SAVE FOR FUTURE USE features two galleries filled with sculptures, paintings, drawings, and more from Blackman’s prolific practice through three distinct periods of formal investigation.

Morris Blackman - SAVE FOR FUTURE USE - Exhibitions - Gross McCleaf Gallery

Self Portrait 054, 14" x 8", Oil On Canvas

Drawings and a small, painted self-portrait are among the earliest pieces in the exhibit and attest to Blackman’s draftsmanship and artistic training. His softly contoured graphite drawings depict various casts and statues that Blackman studied during his arts training. His self-portrait presents a young man in front of a field of bright yellow paint. His face in shadow, a critical gaze reveals the discerning and determined personality of Blackman as a young artist.

The largest work in the exhibition, measuring in at over 8 feet tall and 14 feet wide, comes from Blackman’s transitional abstract expressionist period from the late 1950s and early 1960s. While thick paint and brushy paint application easily distinguish this series from Blackman’s later works, the foundational forms are present in the spherical orbs that sit atop the dark structural shafts in the monumental triptych. The smaller abstract expressionist works contain linear gestures that seem to reappear in the later work as asemic writing. Primary colors also emerge as an interest during this period, a palette that carries through to the most recent paintings in the show.

Most of the pieces in the current show were created during the mature, later decades of Blackman’s career from the 1960s to present day; a time when the artist had largely isolated himself from the rest of the Philadelphia art scene and the gallery world. Brightly colored knobs, joysticks, and buttons protrude from intricate sculptural designs while asemic writing, color wheels, and gridded charts communicate encrypted instructions across painted surfaces. The works feel somewhat utilitarian, as though they exist as controls for a machine, or perhaps, they are board games or mysterious pictographs with riddles to be solved.

Often made from found objects such as Styrofoam and wooden pegs, Blackman has arranged and transformed the pieces into delightful and surprising works of art. The generational, optimistic fascination of the space age is present and alive, the inspiration for the work seeming to arise from a time when the machines of the future might save the world. While this period of Blackman’s work feels hopeful and connected with science fiction, a drawing and a large satellite dish shaped target are all that remains of his magnum opus, a 12 feet tall and 38 feet wide painted relief sculpture.

Morris Blackman - SAVE FOR FUTURE USE - Exhibitions - Gross McCleaf Gallery

Morris Blackman was born in Philadelphia in 1930. Taking an interest in art early in life, Blackman began art lessons at the Graphic Sketch Club, now Fleisher Art Memorial, at the age of ten. On his return from being stationed in Europe with the US Army, Blackman enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He received numerous prizes in mural art, figure drawing, and graphic art and two Cresson Traveling Scholarships, allowing him to travel through most of Europe.

He had a solo exhibit at PAFA’s Peale Gallery in 1971 and participated in group exhibits at PAFA, the Marian Locks Gallery in Philadelphia, the Reese Palley Gallery in Atlantic City, and the Carlsson Gallery in New York. He taught at Fleisher Art Memorial and was a visiting critic at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Fine Arts. His work has been purchased by numerous private collectors and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Image Left: Primary Composition 018, 47.75" x 32", Acrylic

Morris Blackman - SAVE FOR FUTURE USE - Exhibitions - Gross McCleaf Gallery

Biomorphic Abstract 008, 79" x 50", Acrylic On Panel