“Although there are many aspects of my work that can be intellectualized, the fundamentals still require that inner aesthetic sense...But in the final analysis it is the viewer that deems my work either ‘art’ or ‘folly’.”
Don Morris received his undergraduate education at Tulane University and went on to obtain his doctorate at Louisiana State University in New Orleans. He then went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota to complete general surgery and then plastic surgery training. He practiced plastic surgery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for 37 years and was a clinical assistant professor at the Marquette University and the Medical College of Wisconsin. He recently moved his studio from Coral Gables, Florida, to Rancho Santa Fe, California. He is the author of numerous articles and has appeared on the Today Show, Nova, and numerous radio and televisions programs.
He was an ardent art collector and also associated with the Milwaukee Art Museum as president of the Contemporary Art Society and the acquisition committee.
After retiring from plastic surgery, he began his new career as an artist in 2009. His art is now in numerous collections and museums in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
In a very short time since entering the art world, Don Morris has seen a meteoric rise in his prominence as an artist. His constructions are found in museums and significant collections both in the United States and abroad. His approach is sophisticated and fresh as he has taken inert objects, found wood or shredded comic books, and re-invented them into aesthetic pieces that evoke a sense of mystery and form into pleasing constructions of texture, color, and shadow.
Morris’ comic book constructions are rooted in the art of the ’60s when Andy Warhol reigned supreme. Cesar, Arman and Chamberlain utilized metal from automobiles to form cubes of colored compacted metal. Later Mark Newport incorporated comic books into quilts; and finally, Scarpa used comic books in his constructions.
Morris has taken the iconic comic book of our youth and reduced it to narrow strips and bands and re-invented it into a mass of bright color and texture when seen from a distance. The constructions embody a certain lightness and fluidity. The uniformly undulating surface of gentle peaks and curves in the folds of the comic book pages captures the viewer with a story as it unfolds. From a distance, the viewer sees only the interplay of colors and texture. However, as the viewer is drawn closer the superheroes of the comic book fly, struggle, and climb in small fragments and vignettes. The expressive faces of the comic book characters show all the emotions of the human psyche. Word bubbles from the comic book text are clearly visible throughout the pieces, allowing the viewer to read the dialog of the action heroes. The compilation of thousands of comic book sections form constructions of various sizes, leaving viewers with an unforgettable image of energetic architectural elements in a distinctive physical composition.
There is also an intellectual element that becomes apparent when one considers the name of the series, “Searching for Heroes”. Morris explains
“The underlying theme of most comic books is man’s fascination for heroes to fight the evils and wrongdoings in a world of indifference, chaos, and impotence. In our culture, this theme existed in early radio adventure series, as well as, in old and current movies such as Batman, Spiderman, and Captain America to name a few. But, there is a multitude of heroes in every facet of life. Many are well known to us all, however, the vast majority of heroes are hardly noticed and work to help their fellow man and society. They do their work quietly in a dedicated fashion without fanfare, reward, or recognition. These are the real heroes in the world and they lurk inside us all.”