This semester, with the craziness of graduate school applications, a senior thesis, and accepting that this is my last year at Goucher, has forced me to let
go of some of my favorite past times. One of the most important is my frequent visits to the Walters Art Museum and Baltimore Museum of Art. This, of course, changed when I heard the BMA was showing an exhibition of Baltimore artist, Morris Lewis. For those of you unfamiliar with Lewis, look him up because he is fantastic. He was working in the 1950s and was one of the earliest color-field painters– think Rothko and Barnett Newman.
The exhibition shows 28 paintings by the artist, including sketches and drawings. The images are brightly colored compositions, where the paint often flows down the canvas in a controlled manner.
When I look at the work, it resonates as the product of if Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko had a baby that contantly sported PRIDE attire. Yes, his interest in color is displayed on large multi-colored canvases that look like muted rainbows.
There was actually a “safe space” campaign a couple years ago at Goucher using one of his paintings as their background banner for their blog. The web designer for the blog said he likes Lewis’s painting because it was not so vibrant and obviously a rainbow. It could be a rainbow without hitting you over the head with it.
I think this is one of the reasons I am so drawn to his work. He is able to conceptualize color without it looking garish. If you like color and art, then I suggest a visit to the BMA.